Those clever chaps at Blood and Treasure (who share my low opinions of the NWOBJ) actually did some experimental work to see if it were true. I think the verdict is 'not proven'.
Via them, a chap called George Smith who also asks if things are true. An interesting blog - a kind of Yankee Alex Harrowell.
True New Labour values. Former Scottish first minister Jack McConnell looks back over ten years of devolution to its crowning glory.
You do have to worry about the mental state of a man who considers a smoking ban the finest achievement of ten years of government. Was it for this that Keir Hardie and the Red Clydesiders fought - for the right of a publican to go to jail if drinkers light up in a Scots pub ?
Jack McConnell rates the smoking ban as the crowning achievement of the Scottish parliament, which marks the 10th anniversary of its first meeting this month ... McConnell said: "I was so proud. I was proud of my country, proud of the people and proud of the parliament. It was a defining moment in that first 10 years."
More New Labour snouts in the trough.
A Labour peer who lives in the East End of London has claimed about £100,000 in parliamentary expenses on a flat in Kent that neighbours say has been unoccupied for years.
Baroness Uddin, who worked closely with Tony and Cherie Blair, has been claiming allowances intended for peers living outside London although she resides only four miles from the Lords.
Inquiries by The Sunday Times have established that the baroness bought a two-bedroom flat in Maidstone in 2005 and has named it as her main home to claim almost £30,000 a year in accommodation expenses from the House of Lords.
Residents from the five other flats in the same block as Uddin’s property all say they have never seen her there. They could see through the windows that the bedrooms were unfurnished.
Ms Uddin seems an archetype NuLab figure :
Born in Bangladesh, Manzila Pola Uddin came to Britain as a teenager and went on to become a community worker and social services officer while pursuing a political career that saw her rise to be deputy leader of Tower Hamlets borough council in the early 1990s.
She was made a peer by Tony Blair in 1998 and took the title “Baroness Uddin of Bethnal Green in our London Borough of Tower Hamlets”. Aged 38, she was the youngest woman in the Lords.
As a campaigner on women’s and ethnic minority issues she has become part of the new Labour establishment, befriending Cherie Blair. Her Facebook friends include the cabinet ministers Harriet Harman, Hazel Blears and David Miliband and Alastair Campbell, the former spin doctor.
More vote fraud :
Raja Khan, 52, of Oban Court, Montem Lane, was jailed for three and a half years after admitting conspiracy to defraud the returning officer and perjury. He has since been expelled from the Conservative Party. Gul Nawaz Khan, 58, of Richmond Crescent, pleaded guilty to perjury and was jailed for eight months. Mohammed Basharat Khan, 46, of Mirador Crescent, admitted conspiracy to defraud the returning officer and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. He was jailed for three years and four months. Arshad Raja, 53, of Broadmark Road, was found guilty of conspiracy to defraud the returning officer. He was given an 18-month prison sentence.
Now the sentences are good, even when you halve them and knock off 18 days. It's the kind of thing that will encourage the others - for a time, at least. According to "the electoral commission" there was less fraud in the 2008 elections - full report here.
Via Cranmer, an interesting paper on the success of the homosexual activist group Stonewall.
And finally, the American lefty singer, activist and songwriter Pete Seeger is ninety years old. While he should IMHO face a musical tribunal for popularising Kumbayah, against this must be set a number of services to music, including his fine tune to the poetry of Idris Davies. More jangly Sixties guitars, electric this time. I know they can't pronounce the name right, and there's a total disconnect between Depression South Wales and a bunch of amiable middle-class American stoners, but the Byrds do a lovely job on Bells of Rhymney.