Troublemaker can only imagine the people of Yalding’s joy when the prime minister strolled into the flood-hit Kent village wearing loafers, with camera teams and reporters by his side.
But the locals gave him a piece of their mind about the lack of support from councils, the electricity suppliers and especially the government.
The chancellor, George Osborne, visited a flooded city over the holidays too—Venice.
Meanwhile, energy and climate change minister Greg Barker was out with a fox hunt.
Not one member of the Cabinet even bothered to turn up at the first Cobra meeting.
And what about the man who’s supposed to be in charge of flooding—environment secretary Owen Paterson?
He emerged on 30 December when he suggested energy companies should limit holidays for their staff.
Meanwhile it was revealed up to 1,500 jobs are going at the Environment Agency.
That’s the body responsible for monitoring and preventing flooding.
Tally Ho Tories
Several Tory MPs, including three ministers, have demonstrated their support for easing the ban on fox hunting by attending traditional Boxing Day hunts in their constituencies.
Greg Barker wasn’t the only one. Damian Green, the policing and criminal justice minister, and Matthew Hancock, the skills and enterprise minister did the same.
Greater Manchester Police has made a significant step forward in the policing of civil disturbance, as they like to call it.
They have launched a Protestor Removal Team with jackets with Protestor Removal Team on them. The first outing was against anti-fracking protesters in Eccles who pointed out protester is spelt with an “e”.
Whose Nazi uniform?
Right wing MP Aidan Burley is sweating on a French court’s verdict this month on friend Mark Fournier wearing a Nazi uniform at a stag party.
Groom Fournier’s lawyer claimed best man Burley organised the outfit.
This contradicts the Tory MP’s repeated pleas of innocence.
The honour for Tory cuts goes to...
Troublemaker doesn’t have room for the full New Year Honours list but some highlights include the following.
- Marion Dowdings OBE and Simon Mort OBE—deputy chair of Cameron’s local party and chair of its supper club, and president of the Oxford West Conservatives, respectively.
- Karren Brady CBE— Cameron adviser.
- Sir Peter Luff—Tory MP who bought three loo seats, three food mixers, two microwaves and ten sets of bed linen for his country house on his parliamentary expenses.
- Peter Emmerson Jones OBE—gave tens of thousands of pounds to Baron Osborne’s local party.
- Lady Patricia Hobson OBE—another big money Tory donor.
- Emma Pidding CBE—chair of the National Conservative Convention.
- Sir Alan Parker—public relations guru holidays with Cameron.
- Lino Carbosiero MBE—David Cameron’s hairdresser, who moved the Dave’s side-parting from right to left in 2010.
Posh chickens still waiting to roost
Hedge fund boss Crispin Odey doesn’t have to worry too much if the Forest of Dean’s most fabulous folly goes over budget. He is, as regular readers of Troublemaker will recall, building a stone temple to house 20 chickens.
The plans state, “The temple’s roof—adorned with Anthemia statuette—will be fashioned in grey zinc; the pediments, cornice, architrave and frieze are in English oak; and the columns, pilasters and rusticated stone plinth are being hewn from the finest grey Forest of Dean sandstone.”
It is more than a year after Odey won planning approval to build the Palladian poultry palace at his country seat.
But stonemasons are still etching a humpty dumpty motif around its sandstone base.
Odey should be able to crack the bubbly over his coop’s zinc roof in the spring.
Is your pension in Wonga?
Newcastle City Council blocked Wonga’s website on every computer it owns.
But the council pays into the Tyne And Wear Pension Fund, which has £233,000 of Newcastle’s cash invested in Wonga.
Meanwhile Lancashire County Council pension fund is investing more than £100 million in tobacco, alcohol and chocolate giants.
The council’s pension fund has ploughed £33.8 million into British American Tobacco and £22 million into Marlboro cigarette firm Philip Morris. It’s also put £24 million into booze giant Diageo and £54.4 million into global chocolate company Nestle.
Thousands lost their benefits at Christmas
Up to 32,000 people did not receive benefit payments in time for Christmas due to an “administrative error”.
Money for some job-seekers, low earners and pensioners was due to go into accounts on Christmas Eve.
But it didn’t show up until three days later.
Those affected included new claimants, those owed arrears and people awarded social fund budgeting loans for essentials such as clothes, rent and furniture.