Friday, 17 June 2011


The Employment Opportunities Bill, sponsored by Christopher Chope , is due to have its second reading today.

Basically, the bill seeks to make the minimum wage negotiable between the employee and employer. In other words, an employee can sign a piece of paper which absolves the employer from the responsibility of paying the minimum wage, rather like happens with the Working Time Directive at present. There is apparently nothing in the Bill to stop an employer making it clear at interview that the successful candidate will have taken that route, although clearly it is not compulsory.

The idea of the Bill then, is to start a race for the bottom wage-wise. If this Bill passes, we might expect to see people working for £4 or £3 an hour or even less.

Mr Chope (is that an English name?), who is pictured above (fine figure of a man) has form when it comes to illiberal, I’m all right policies.

In 1986, Chope was promoted by Thatcher to a junior post at the Department of the Environment where he steered through the poll tax legislation. Chope was chairman of the Thatcherite “Conservative Way Forward”, so that tells you what kind of a bloke he is.

According to Wikipedia, in February 2009, he called for the minimum wage to be abolished. His Employment Opportunities Bill, which “would have introduced more freedom to the job market and decrease unemployment” or so he said, was backed by ten other Conservative MPs at the first reading. If I remember rightly Niko highlighted this on his blog, with the names and email addresses of the said members, and asked people to email them. I did, and only one (Philip Davis) had the good manners to reply.

Later that year, in the expenses scandal, it emerged that Chope had claimed £136,992 in parliamentary expenses in 2007/08. This included claiming £881 to repair a sofa. So he is quite happy that the lower orders should earn less than you can live on, but he thinks that he should be able to claim that kind of money for repair to one of his sofas. An OAP has to live for 2 months on that money.

On 12 March 2010, he was responsible for the blocking of a bill to protect the world's poorest countries from debt sharks use of "vulture funds", despite the Tories’ support for the bill They were furious and embarrassed at its blocking. There were only three Tories in the Chamber at the time and all three hung their heads so no one could tell who had said “Object” which scuppered the Bill. Clearly a coward too.

Chope favours capital punishment, which is fine with me, because although I don’t support it, I’d happy make an exception for a scumbag like him. There’s a lamppost somewhere with his name on it.

He’s the kind of bloke you wouldn’t rush to help if he were on fire and you were passing with a spare bucket of water; an excuse for a human.


  1. tris

    with chope (the turd)leading the rush to the bottom with wages and Philip Davies (double turd)
    saying yer spassys shouldn't expect to get the same wages as 'Normal' peoples after all they aint as productive and they dribble a lot and put you of eating yer dinner when they are seated in a restaurant or eaterie.

    I mean its Karma aint it as an the English football manager once said (and then promptly resigned)
    then when yer out walking and they is in front of ya its pain trying to get past with their wheely chairs and two walking sticks limping from side to side.

    and just cos they is soldiers(some of them) and had a leg or arm blown off they think they should get better treatment...

    I paraphrase Philip Davies but not by a lot

  2. Good lord...did he really Niko? He seemed a reasonable bloke to me when I had some communications with him last year.

    If he said that he's off my Christmas card list. I think by the same token there should be a sliding scale of wages for MPs. The first two years they shoud be trainees and get paid 1/3 of the salary, increasing by 1/10 a year thereafter until they reach the full money. And if they are ever found cheating on their expenses then they should start at the bottom again.

  3. Sounds like slavery making a come back to me.

  4. Yes CH. I've just read about Philip Davies in the Guardian. He's a pig.

    I wonder at these people and that they never manage to reduce their own money, no matter how useless they are, no matter how many mistakes they make or how much they manage to steal.

    I wonder how much their own morbidly obese pension pots have been reduced because of the financial crisis for which they have to take a deal of responsibility.

  5. tris

    the inner workings of the Tory mind is a wonder behold mean vacuous stingy nasty vile and totally greedy for themselves......and thats on a good day

  6. tris i posted this on Labour hame

    Nikostratos says:
    June 17, 2011 at 9:13 pm

    Regardless of how the referendum question/s is phrased
    ALL the pro United Kingdom party’s should be working together
    as one on a ‘Yes’ to Scotland within the ‘UK’

    Let the seperationists tie them selves up in the Gordian knot
    of a multi option referendum the Uniters should be focused on
    achieving one clear overwhelming ‘yes’ result.

    Time is short and the enemy is at the gates

    Brill aint it seems as if i am out of the dog house at the moment

  7. Well, to be fair Niko, only some of them. Doubtless there are decent ones. But this drive to get the minimum wage reduced by whatever means is really disgusting. They are either unconcerned by or ignorant of just how unutterably dreadful life is for people on minimum wage, particularly when inflation is rampant. For people on such small incomes, whose incomes cover only the basics of accommodation, heat, work expenses (travel, clthing, haircuts, etc) and food it must be around 10-15% at the moment.

    I heard Alistair Darling on the radio the other day. He sounds just like a Tory, and Tony Blair is one.

  8. Yes to independence Niko. Brilliant.


    I'm not sure how you can bring yourself to work with the likes of Mr Choke or Philip Davies who thinks that disabled people should be working for less... presumable shortly to be joined by unemployed people looking for work (''oh thank you sir, I'll take £1 an hour if your just gie me a wee leg up''), then anyone over 40, the well...everyone, which is what he wants.

    But when it comes to independence, may the best man win. Alex Salmond and me, or David Cameron and you! :)

    Anyway, I'm glad you're back in the good books. You should offer to write them a post. I mean if Kazie Dugtale can do it, I'm sure you can... and much more interestingly too. (God she's boring!)

  9. Well I can't defend Mr Chope here. All I will point out is that his type of views aren't official party policy.

  10. I accept that Dean, and i understand that the party leadership was quick to distance itself from Philip Davies's comments about disabled people being paid less than the rest of us.

    I'd be looking to chuck such a repulsive person out of the party frankly, and Choke the Joke might as well go with him,

  11. tris that though has crossed my mind its a dilemma i am trying to unravel...........not very well

  12. Niko, I can’t begin to understand your desire to stay in this basically Tory union. (Either they have a Tory government, or a Labour government that has to adopt a raft of Tory policies to win in the South East of England where over half the population lives, and where there is a preponderance of well of people.)

    However, I accept it and I respect it.

    I think though that many people in the Labour movement are going to have to think seriously about how close they want to get to a campaign led by David and Nick Camerclegg.

  13. For over thirty years I travelled around the country (by which I mean the UK) visiting animal feed mills and agricultural merchants' businesses. They were mostly small to medium-sized concerns in country areas. I noticed that quite a number of them employed one or more people who were handicapped in some way on simple but essential jobs like sweeping up, bundling up used packaging for disposal etc.

    When the minimum wage was being introduced, I wrote to my Labour MP to say that I feared it would put many of these people out of work. He took the view of most of your correspondents - that this was some sort of exploitation.

    I know an elderly couple who have a 47 year old son who was badly brain damaged and he comes to help me in the garden most weeks in the Summer time. As a former employer myself, I know that he would be quite capable of doing a limited job under consistent and kindly supervision - but that costs time and money, so he would never be worth a full wage and no employer would now take him on.

    He goes to "college" two days a week where, at considerable public expense, they do a pretty good job trying to teach "life skills". This is the sort of thing he would pick up for himself in employment in the right sort of environment , suited to his abilities, and he would have the self respect of being a working man.

    Philip Davies is quite right and not at all the ogre. He is also very sound on the EU!

  14. Mr S: You'll not be surprised to hear that I disagree profoundly with you.

    I’ve worked for 20 years in the employment/training/education business, trying to get people, sometimes Incapacity Benefit claimants, into work. I have worked with people who were deaf, and those with a variety of other disabilities.

    Some too have had “learning difficulties” which means nothing, but covers a variety of problems, and has the advantage of not being politically incorrect, so we’ll leave it at that.

    Yes, in some ways some of them may contribute less to the workplace than a fully fit person, but, some may contribute more, depending on the job.

    People are not just disabled, of course. They are disabled in different ways to different extents. Who would judge just how disabled a person was? Would we have to have them examined and a worthwhile hourly rate put on them? How demeaning would that be? “I’m only worth £3,40 an hour.” Oh, I’m worth £3,43 an hour, so I’m better than you”.

    When Mrs Thatcher got rid of the wages boards in Scotland and employers could pay whatever they liked, some took advantage and some didn’t. Some had people working for £1 an hour. And the jobcentre was taking vacancies from these companies, meaning that they would send people along for their jobs. Now £36 a week was a lot more then than it is now, but it still wasn’t a wage that people could live on. So they had to be subsidised by the state, that’s you and me, to make their company a profit.

    Given the fact that Mr Davies was happy last year to sponsor a bill getting rid of minimum wage altogether, I suspect that if they managed it for the disabled, they’d soon propose that for example, the unemployed must be prepared to work for £4, and the long term for £3, and unemployed over 60 for £1, because no one wants them at all. Fat people should work for less than thin people, and in some jobs good looking people would be paid more that ugly gits who put customers off.

    People are all different. There are staff in Tesco and Ninewells Hospital (just for two examples) that aren’t worth any money at all. Lazy, rude wastes of space... and they aren’t disabled at all.

    Surely the route to do down is the return of the Green Card. Larger employers, who make a lot of money out of a community, must be prepared to employ some people with disabilities, as part of their social responsibilities. It should never have been abolished, and it should be brought back.

  15. Tris,
    The chap who comes to help me in the garden was so badly brain damaged that he was not expected to speak. He made a partial, miraculous recovery (following a visit to Lourdes, actually). His speech is a bit difficult to follow except when he mimics one of his favourite TV characters, like Arkwright in "Open All Hours" or Mr. McKay from "Porridge". He is an accomplished mimic. He is very well socialised so you don't instantly pick up how handicapped he is.

    From talking to him, I found out that the happiest time of his life was when his parents lived near a farm. As a boy, they let him join in with the work. He speaks all the time of his ambition to have a small holding.

    As he knew that my business was once to do with farming he asked me if I could help him find a job. I said I could probably find him a bit of gardening. He enjoys it very much and has since, I am told, started to do odd jobs for some neighbours. He recently told me that one lady was moving away "so that's another contract finished".

    Originally he had his lunch with my wife and me. Then, when my wife was away one day, I took him for a pub lunch and he felt that was a far superior arrangement - to discuss the world man to man over a pint of beer. So that has become a fixture since.

    It has its problems. He is very off-put by anything new and, if something doesn't go as he expects he can get into quite a state. He couldn't work the catch to fold a step ladder he had been using and simply bent it shut. He is very strong.

    I generally distrust official solutions to things. There was a requirement for employers to find work for a proportion of disabled people at one time. In shops, they were generally lift attendants. But now people push the buttons for themselves.

    There are good employers and bad employers, just as there are good employees and bad employees. I cannot help thinking (indeed, I believe, knowing) that informal arrangements in smallish groups work best. Intrude officialdom and common sense goes out the window.

    I did start out with the idea of asking one or two small firms I know to see if they could find a niche for this chap but soon realised that the minimum wage and fears over the much more stringent approach to health and safety would make it impossible.

    The most powerful law in all attempts at legislation is the law of unintended consequences.

  16. I know what you are saying Mr S.

    And I agree that there are good and bad employers. I've worked with a very wide range over the years, some, even some big ones who would bust a gut to help someone who had had a crap start in life, and some who would stop a man's pay because he was 10 minutes late, having walked 5 miles through the snow to get in, when many others hadn't bothered.

    The trouble with allowing people the freedom to reduce the minimum wage when special circumstances arise, is that some will abuse it badly.

    Likewise, although I'd be the first to admit that health and safety is taken far too far by some employers, I have seen the results of employers who take it rather less seriously, indeed my next door neighbour is currently convalescing from losing the top of a finger dies to there being no guards on the machinery he was using.

    Unfortunately people can't be trusted to be responsible, even when there IS legislation, never mind if the government said the legislation no longer applied and employers could make up their own minds. I know of a woman who disregarded the health and safety rules of her company and opened the door to someone when she was alone in the office. She was beaten and left for dead, and of course, money was stolen.

    Of course 999 times out of 1000 she would have been safe, and the H+S rules would have been a nonsense; but it was her luck to choose to disregard her employers instructions on the day a nut case was about.

  17. The evidence for Original Sin is overwhelming and that is one reason why government and regulation are necessary. The question is how much and what sort.
    There is far, far too much of it.

    Of the regulatory agencies I had to deal with when running a business, the two who (IMHO) were doing the best jobs were Customs and Excise and the Factory Inspectorate. Perhaps that was because we weren't trying to circumvent either!

    The others, especially local authority, were, by and large, total crap with ulterior agendas and technically incompetent anyway. But we were on a site in an area becoming "ripe for development" and a councillor worked for a property company which owned much of the surrounding area. Long story....but they gave me the worst two years of my life, eventually climbing down and paying our legal expenses - but I could never get back the time and energy which should have gone into the business.

    It is only when the powers-that-be make a dead set at you that you find out just how many powers they have - all originally for good reasons no doubt.

    The Inland Revenue (then separate from Customs) did a PAYE audit and claimed we owed about £500, which I was damned sure we didn't. Our accountants said it would cost more than £500 in fees for them to fight it (which we would not be able to recover), so with my previous experience we paid up and doubtless the two IR auditors scored a few brownie points in the official target culture prevailing. Basically it was demanding money with menaces - and getting away with it.

    The sort of situation you mention with the lady who was beaten up will unfortunately occur from time to time as there are evil people about and quite a few are working for the authorities which have become over mighty.

  18. I agree with all you say above.

    Far too much greed; far too much incompetence; far too much work for some, and not enough for others, and far too many regulations which are unnecessary, and which give officials the opportunity to be "creative", especially when they own land!

    The IR situation you describe is a nightmare. Heads they win, tails you lose.

    Notwithstanding all that, I think that it is sometimes very easy for politicians (or "ordinary" people) to criticise regulations but difficult for authorities to remove them.

    Cameron, correctly in my opinion, criticised the way that New Labour was micro managed from number ten, and true to his word he set his cabinet free to do things without his interference.

    The results have been farcical, with even staunch government supporters laughing their socks off at the likes of Gove, Spellman, Maude, Fox, Huhne, Cable, and most recently, Ken Clarke. The prime minister has found it necessary to employ spin doctors and minders to keep these people in order, just like Blair/Brown had to.

    Likewise May was to do away with surveillance cameras which poked its nose into everyone's business, and which she had criticised roundly. She has in fact legislated that these cameras be licensed, meaning a whole pile more form filling for shop owners and local authorities, and a load more work for the Home Office. But I suppose you could say that the advantage of that is that it makes it slightly more difficult for a pervert to set up a camera that watches, not his shop but the park across the way.
    I’m sorry this went to moderation. Nothing personal you understand. Posts over a few days old require moderation because, otherwise I’d never notice if someone had posted.