There's an almost deafening silence from the other parties, which a cynic like me takes to mean that they're all at it. Gordon Brown did have this to say about his own MEPs though:
He said Labour MEPs had "insisted since 2000 on their being separate validated audits of their own expenses and they have a separate register about family employment".
What we should note about this is that none of these arrangements would have picked up the scam that Giles Chichester seems to have been operating. An audit would have noted valid invoices from a service provider company. Tick. The register of family employment would have correctly shown that he didn't employ any family members (they were employed by the service provider company, right?).
This is a classic case of saying something that looks like a denial, but which on closer inspection, isn't anything of the sort.
Climate Resistance crunches the numbers on the Guardian's claim that microgeneration is the future for our energy needs, and discovers, shock horror, that the Graun is once again talking tosh.
This is well worth a read, and lest anyone says that bloggers never produce anything original, includes some proper investigative journalism.
The satellite data show that May temperatures were chilly - the anomaly was even cooler than the first few months of 2008, which were pretty damn cold to start with.
Lubos has the details.
Times are hard. The credit crunch has bitten deep and families across the country are finding themselves forced tighten their belts. This story is shocking though. A family has been forced to make its home in an ashtray!
I kid you not.
The family - believed to be two adults and four children, currently reside in a rural area in Central Scotland and, presumably lacking any alternative, have had to risk lung cancer, bronchitis and all manner of other ills, just to keep a roof over their heads. I'm surpised the children haven't been taken into care.
And these are no johnny-come-lately migrants - they're native Brits. What are things coming to in Brown's Britain when we have sunk to this.
Still, look on the bright side. Apparently they at least don't have CCTV watching their every move in their new home.
The BBC reveals an interesting set of priorities for its headlines right now. The headlines and "top stories" (in the BBC's opinion at least) are:
Youth anti-drink plans criticized
Police uncover body in suitcase
Blaze ravages Universal Studios
Stabbing woman detained under act
Israel sends back Hezbollah spy
MPs 'will support terror plans'
Bradford & Bingley chief resigns
Kampusch making chat show debut
McCartney set for Liverpool show
The story you don't find on their front page, or even on the front of the World section, but buried in the Middle East pages is this:
I don't know about you, but I'd think this might be slightly more important than even "Beatles set for Liverpool show", but maybe I'm a bit old-fashioned about these things.
Taxation Web reports that the government is set to reduce the period in which taxpayers can claw back overpaid tax. Currently six years, a clause tucked away at the back of the Finance Bill is set to reduce the period to four years.
It goes without saying that there is no similar reduction in the time in which government can pursue taxpayers for underpaid tax.
Taxation Web notes that the people who usually end up paying too much tax are pensioners. As I noted in an earlier posting, Labour party people aren't that bothered with pensioners, so it may be that they have considered and discounted the fact that this is not actually not be very equitable.
Socialists mean something different to you and I by "fairness". To them it's something along the lines of "pay up".
Two recent articles have summed up pretty nicely the government's attitude to the rest of us.
Adair Turner, Labour peer, quangocrat supreme and soon to be head of the Financial Services Authority told the FT that high energy prices were a legitimate way to cut greenhouse emissions. So if your granny freezes to death this winter, you have Mr Turner's word that what the government is going is entirely valid. This will probably make you feel better if you are of a green persuasion. You should probably be grateful, in fact.
Meanwhile your government tried to suppress a report which showed that fortnightly rubbish collections posed a health risk. This is because you are a bunch of ungrateful proles and are largely expendable.
Still, if they carry on like this, Labour might not even be the official opposition next time round (if they haven't gone bankrupt in the meantime), so all this pain might in fact be worth it.
I had an interesting debate with Sunny Hundal of Liberal Conspiracy the other day over whether the Bishop of Rochester is a bigot or not.
Sunny took the position that, because Bishop Nazir-Ali had condemned the creation of no-go areas for non-Muslims, but had failed to identify one, he (the Bishop) was a bigot. I found this a bit of a stretch, and pointed Sunny to a report by a former race relations adviser in Bradford which seemed to be saying that such areas did in fact exist.
By strange coincidence today's Telegraph carries a report about two Christian preachers being threatened by police under hate crimes legislation for proselytising in a Muslim area.
The evangelists say they were threatened with arrest for committing a "hate crime" and were told they risked being beaten up if they returned.
Now obviously, this is police doing the enforcing, but, if true, it represents further support for the Bishop's claims.
The outraged among us will notice that this is a further faux pas by West Midlands police, the same force who reported Channel Four to the regulators for making a programme about Islamic extremism. This force looks like it is out of control.
It may well have been the same officer, Anil Patani, deputy chief constable (security and cohesion), who was responsible for both of these crimes against civil liberties.
Anil Patani seems to have a colourful past, having sued the police twice - once for overlooking him for promotion and once for promoting him too quickly! Methinks it will be overfast promotion again, the next time round. (See the comments at this link)
This is really getting quite amusing.
A new paper published in Nature claims to have uncovered an almighty cock-up in the sea surface temperature record just after the Second World War. Previously the temperature records showed a sharp fall, but it turns out that this was wrong. According to the authors:
It turns out that the mysterious drop is due to differences in the way that British and US ships’ crews measured the sea surface temperature (SST) in the 1940s.
Only a few SST measurements were made during wartime, and almost exclusively by US ships. Then, in the summer of 1945, British ships resumed measurements. But whereas US crews had measured the temperature of the intake water used for cooling the ships’ engines, British crews collected water in buckets from the sea for their measurements. When these uninsulated buckets were hauled from the ocean, the temperature probe would get a little colder as a result of the cooling effect of evaporation. US measurements, on the other hand, yielded slightly higher temperatures due to the warm engine-room environment.
The standard logbook entries made at the time contain no information about how the measurements were taken, so the cause was overlooked, says David Thompson, first author on the paper and an atmospheric scientist at the State University of Colorado in Boulder. As a result, the bias — which, although small, was large enough to produce the sharp drop in global mean temperature — was never adjusted for.
Bravo. And the paper gets the full headline treatment in Nature, with editorials on two of the Nature Group's websites.
The only thing is that this cock-up was pointed out nearly two years ago at Climate Audit. As expected, neither the authors or Nature's leader writers acknowledge their debt to Steve McIntyre, a fact which rather gives the lie to their executive editor's claims that Nature is "of the highest quality and independent". I've noted before that they refuse to link to Climate Audit, while being happy to point their readers to environmentalist writers, so this kind of claim is becoming increasingly ridiculous.
Meanwhile, the implications of these findings are starting to sink in. We should remember in passing that the sea surface record is much more important than the land records, because the sea is such a large proportion of the world's surface. Now, all those climate models, which we are told are based on fundamental physics, have included calculations based on the effects of aerosols - pollution in layman's terms - which allow the models to reproduce the post-war temperature drop. The argument goes that all there was a lot of pollution around in the post-war period which depressed temperatures. Now, of course, the temperature drop turns out to be a mistake, the modellers are going to have to start to explain away why their post-war reconstructions are so much lower than the recorded temperatures. Their alternative is to suddenly discover that the effect of aerosols is not as great as previously thought or that aerosol concentrations were lower, but this will just make it look as if they just throw anything into the models which seems to give the "right" answer, and physics be damned.
The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center has announced that projected climate conditions point to a near- or above-normal hurricane season in the Atlantic Basin this year. The Atlantic hurricane season begins officially on 1 June.
So, if the season is anything other than very benign, NOAA can claim "We told you so" and "See? We can predict hurricanes after all!" and "Now you have to believe our predictions of impending doom".
Is it just me, or are there a lot of interesting blog posts around this morning. Try these, for example:
Eamonn Butler on why plastic bags are better than paper ones, and why lots of packaging is better than none.
The Englishman on why hedgehogs are in decline.
EU Referendum on why we should be expecting power outages next winter.
Who'd read a newspaper these days? (Although having said that, it's worth reading this article in the Telegraph about the EU's latest attempt to crush dissent).
The Spectator says that US Intelligence has located Osama bin Laden in the Karakoram.
Presumably we can conclude that he's not there any longer, either because he's flown the coop, or because the Americans have captured him already.
Nobody would be silly enough to let on that they knew where he was, before they'd caught him.