It appears that the former prime minister has no intention of meeting the darling of the Tea Party movement. Andy McSmith reported in the Independent this morning that Palin is likely to be “thwarted” on the grounds that Thatcher, 86, rarely makes public appearances. It would appear that the reasons go deeper than Thatcher’s frail health. Her allies believe that Palin is a frivolous figure who is unworthy of an audience with the Iron Lady. This is what one ally tells me:

“Lady Thatcher will not be seeing Sarah Palin. That would be belittling for Margaret. Sarah Palin is nuts.”

Thatcher will show the level she punches at when she attends the unveiling of a statue of Ronald Reagan outside the US embassy in Grosvenor Square on Independence day on 4 July. This is what her ally told me:

“Margaret is focusing on Ronald Reagan and will attend the unveiling of the statue. That is her level.”

No doubt a rebuff from Thatcher will delight Andrew Sullivan, the creator of The Dish blog, who regards Palin as a dangerous lightweight.

Margaret Thatcher to Sarah Palin: don’t bother dropping by | Politics |

Great quotes… I had to laugh. Not much beating around the bush there.

Parliament Hotel – Better than expensing a second home?

With all the fuss going on at the moment over minister’s expense claims in the UK, I thought that a much better solution. I think that the state should buy a hotel in Westminster and ministers would stay there whilst conducting their parliamentary business in London.

The underlying problem here is that the vast majority of MPs represent constituencies that are geographically distant from London, and as a result that are required to spend a great deal of time in London to conduct the day-to-day business of being an MP.

The second home allows minister the flexibility of somewhere to stay, rather than paying for a hotel, whilst in London. However, this system has been systematically abused.

If the state was to buy a hotel, many of the basic expenses that are currently individually claimed for by MPs for their second homes (heating, electricity, telephone, internet, cleaning) would all be provided by Parliament hotel on a fixed basis that the tax payer pays for, but with the knowledge that these expenses are fixed. Gone are the expenses for a new boiler, or £600 hanging baskets.

It would basically be a big halls of residence, and for other civil servants, such as the police, ambulance and fire fighters of London, this is a quite common scenario.

What do you think? Good idea or stupid idea?