Tag Archives: john simpson

Waste of public money and adventures in foreign journalism – an evening at the Edinburgh Book Festival

Jim Naughtie introduces Margaret Hodge

My spiritual home in August is usually Charlotte Square in Edinburgh at the heart of the Edinburgh Book Festival.

This year, I didn’t manage to get there at all until the very last night.

I showed up at 6pm after work without much hope of getting tickets for anything at that late stage. How wrong could I be?

I managed to buy returned tickets for both Margaret Hodge, the former Chair of the Public Accounts Committee and the amazing foreign correspondent John Simpson.

Margaret Hodge was there to talk about her book, Called to Account, and she  told us about an encounter with her predecessor just after she was elected PAC Chair. David Davis, before he became a fully paid up member of the establishment,  told her to go after Vodaphone on tax.

Keen to track down evidence of a deal between HMRC and the corporate giant, she summoned a senior HMRC official who denied everything. A suggestion from a committee colleague that the official be put on oath led to a 20 minute hunt for a Bible.

She outlined a few areas where public money could be better spent. The MOD apparently spends a fortune on polo lessons. That’s the charging around on horses clunking balls with mallets, not the mint with the hole.

A telling moment was when she changed her mind on the Private Finance Initiative which her party saddled us with. She thought they were a good idea but now sees them as a complete con, with NHS trusts having to pay off their debt before they pay a single doctor.

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 5 Comments
Advert



Recent Comments

  • Martin Gray
    When the European union drapes it's headquarters in the Israeli Flag & it's President declares that it stands side by side with Israel - what's so objection...
  • Martin Gray
    Ultimately - you cannot sustain the current levels of immigration, & solve the housing crisis simultaneously...Sadly too many progressives are infatuated wi...
  • Nonconformistradical
    "Blaming them for promising amenities (to get planning permission) that they then find endless excuses to delay, however…" A key issue and the one which resu...
  • Joe Bourke
    The Renew Europe demand that the EU Council and Commission take responsibility and finally take further steps to apply Article 7, which could lead to the remova...
  • Cassie
    @Simon R – “I don’t think we can blame developers for building the houses they think they can most easily sell for a profit.” I, for one, wasn't blamin...