There’s a shocking story in The Grauniad about Emma Harrisson, the A4E boss who was a family tsar, renting out her properties for a cost of £1.7m over the course of two years. The story, which can be read here, states:

Emma Harrison, the prime minister’s former family tsar who quit amid allegations of “fat cat” pay and fraud, received around £1.7m over two years from leasing out properties, including her family stately home, to the firm she built on the back of state-funded welfare-to-work programmes.

Records show that money was funnelled into two companies and a pension fund in which Harrison or her husband has a controlling interest.

The couple were paid £316,000 for allowing A4e to use their country home for board meetings and other events. Emma and James Harrison were paid another £1.4m for leasing out two other properties to Emma Harrison’s own firm, including its Sheffield headquarters.

The payments were in addition to Emma Harrison’s £365,000 annual salary and the payment of an £8.6m shares dividend, bringing the total earnings of the Harrisons, who share their 20-bedroom home, Thornbridge Hall in Derbyshire, with 11 friends, to some £11m between 2009 and 2011.

I’m gobsmacked!

Feb 252012
 

Wigan 0 Villa 0 was a boring draw by all accounts, Chralie Nicholas at one point described the game as rubbish. This was Robbie Keane’s last game for Villa and he’s going to be sorely missed, whereas Darren Bent was stretchered off.

Villa’s lineup looked quite attacking but it doesn’t seem to have worked out, whereas Wigan failed to win at home again, to be fair to Wigan this season has been odd with the number of teams who are doing better away from home than they are at home, Villa are doing better away.

Villa really could have done with the win, so of course could Wigan! It’s important for Villa to get some wins under their belt to make the end of season run in a little less troublesome. Seven points from the next three games would be decent, nine points would be great, less than six points and it’s worrying!

 

Wolves decison to appoint Terry Connor as manager may seem odd, well it does seem odd. However as a Villa fan who hoped we’d appoint David Moyes, Rafa Benitez or someone to excite the fans, it doesn’t surprise me that Wolves have struggled to find their man.

There’s also the odd thing with football management in that failed managers are considered a better bet than a new manager, Villa had this absurd rule that their new manager needed proven premier league experience but where would David Moyes, Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger etc. be if all clubs had such a narrow attitude?

Wolves are a big club, it may surprise people outside the West Midlands but we have a very healthy number of big clubs here.

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Feb 242012
 

The Tories, whom are an odd bunch at the best of times, are currently having an odd time debating issues and instead seem to want to engage in cheap jibes and insults to deflect criticism. A perfect example can be found over at The Guardian in a post about work placements, with a letter from Chris Grayling to Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee:

Dear Polly,

I read your article last night supporting the militant campaigners who are trying to destroy the work experience scheme and I thought I would write to explain to you what you are actually opposing and supporting protest against.”

Chris Grayling has also indicated that the campaign against workfare is via the socialist workers party, yet many people complaining cannot stand the socialist workers party.

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The Mighty Villa travel to Wigan Athletic tomorrow at the start of what looks like four winnable games, after Wigan they face Blackburn at Ewood Park and then have home games against Bolton and Fulham. However I’m a gambling man and I know that somewhere something will go horribly wrong, however with games away at Arsenal and Liverpool sandwiching a home game against Liverpool, it’s imperative that Villa get a decent number of points from these games to make the end of season more relaxing.

Villa have a decent record away to Wigan, Wigan have a decent record at Villa Park it must be said. Wigan are fighting for their lives, as are Blackburn and Bolton, two of the three opponents following this fixture, so I don’t expect it to be easy but Villa really need three points.

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Uncrunched are carrying a story that Jason Kincaid has left TechCrunch. Uncrunched are of course ran by Mike Arrington, former chief honcho of TechCrunch. Personally I went off TechCrunch when they introduced Facebook comments, but I do still read the site from time to time.

Losing talented people like Jason Kincaid isn’t good, although the site will go on and still provide us all with lots of information, it would be good if they made a scoop and employed an engaging author to compliment their already talented staff.

 

The Tories are happy to tell us that workfare is not what their work experience schemes about. I’ll admit that I think they may not have intended the schemes to become workfare, but there’s a tendency for these sort of ideas to spiral out of control.

The problem I have with this scheme isn’t young unemployed people being given the chance to get work experience, my problem is that these young people appear to be being used in some cases to actually fill vacancies, or at the very least, relieve the overtime bill for an employer.

The plan itself has some merit, but it needs to involve more training and less, well, work!

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