back to article Baffled-by-tech MPs expense IT support

The MP expenses saga has reached a new level of farce - with Parliament publishing a heavily censored version of the expenses file obtained by the Telegraph newspaper, and leaked over the past month. It's so heavily censored, there's nothing there that will incriminate anybody. The paper will respond with a full, uncensored …


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  1. Tom 15


    Perhaps I'm missing the punchline... but surely a SCART lead doesn't have a wrong end? It's a Male-to-Male cable, no?

  2. daniel kingshott

    wrong end of a scart?

    How can you connect the wrong end of a scart lead to a freeview box? both ends are the same..

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wrong End?

    The wrong end of a SCART lead? Am I missing something here? I thought both ends of a SCART lead were the same.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    More Ducks?

    Regarding SCART leads, perhaps Ben Bradshaw also has difficulty telling the difference between a duck? After all, one of its legs are both the same.

  5. Quirkafleeg

    Wrong end? No…

    I think that the STB in question was one of those with two SCART sockets, one of which is clearly labelled as being for connection to the TV and the other of which is clearly labelled as being for connection to a recording device. Or maybe the television had two sockets (but in that case, they're both intended as inputs, so no problem).

    Perhaps this labelling, or the fact that there was more than one socket, is what caused the confusion. It's easily done.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    Journo fail.

    Perhaps the article should be

    "Baffled-by-tech Journo's investigation into MPs expense".

    Both ends of a SCART lead are the same.

  7. Lunatik


    I checked my MP's receipts, and while there are no duck islands and only a few digital cameras, the thing that gets me is the amount of money wasted through poor procurement. Buying el-cheapo consumer printers with pathetic duty cycles then throwing a cartridge at it every 2-3 weeks is hardly a good idea. Poor value for (our) money sums up Michael Connarty's expenses in a lot of cases. I did notice that his expenses got more frugal in the last few years however, perhaps he knew the game was almost up?

    p.s. For those confused by the SCART thing, SCART leads may swing both ways, but the direction that the cable leaves the socket on common-or-garden SCART leads is usually different at each end. This can mean it is impossible to get a cable in to the socket due to mains leads etc....unless you turn the lead round. Chalk one up to the "engineer" for putting it so diplomatically.

  8. JakeyC

    What's the difference between a SCART lead?

    One of its ends is both the same.

  9. Andy Barber

    I'm a Grauniad reader...

    ... but will definitely buy the Torygraph tomorrow!

  10. Dangermouse

    Scart leads

    Actually you can get a male/female SCART lead used to extend male/male leads. Perhaps the staff had the wrong lead in the first place and were too stupid to realise.

  11. Steve Walker
    Paris Hilton

    @Tom 15

    Unless it was not a scart to scart lead? Could be scart to something else and he was sticking the "something" else end in when he should have used the scart bit?

    I dunno to me it just shows what a bunch of clueless butt-o-muppets we have running our shit, hell most I would not let run a bath let alone a whole department.

    Bollox to all of them I say :-O

    Paris because she might be able to do something useful in a bath and with bollox.

  12. Mike 140

    Wrong End?

    You forget, he's an MP.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Scart lead...

    AFAIK they can be different - depends if it was a cheapo one with most of the pins not wired.

  14. EdwardP

    @Wrong End?

    All depends on what kind flavour SCART it was.

    Yes, the vast majority are M-M, but presumably this was M-F.

  15. EvilGav 1


    Could be a SCART to phono cable or SCART to s-video or SCART to RGB - however, I would have hoped in all those cases that they would have realised that the square peg doesn't fit in the round hole or at least contacted the nearest 3 year old who could have pointed that out.

  16. AceRimmer

    Re: Scart

    They probably had it upside down

  17. robert 15

    more IT expense claims

    Theres loads more examples on this thread here:

  18. Witts


    Maybe the wrong end of the scart lead is the bendy bit in the middle?

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Re: Wrong End?

    Perhaps they were trying to connect the box to the *middle* of the lead?

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I know several arts students who are clever.

    And I know several science students who aren't.

    I think the key problem is that arts students, who on the whole do the subjects because they can't understand science, feel that because they can't do anything else, that scientists can't do art.

    Of course I think there have been several famous scientists in the artistic field. Damien Hirst, and that fashion designer who died suddenly, Moschino was it?

    You can always spot scientists in the field of art. They're the ones who are completely taking the piss out of their subject, the people who fall for it, and all the people who buy it, for assuming that when they're taking the piss, "It's ironic" or "He always stuck his tongue out at the fashion industry." instead of them simply having no respect for their chump customers that fall for the stupid shit.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    I couldn't work it out either...

    The moron in question probably bought a male to female scart adapter lead (from some where like PC world - Where people who know f**k all technology, go for their technology)?

    A long shot I know but anything is possible with these parasites.

    Paris, cos if i'm gonna get repeatedly f**ked by anyone i'd rather it be her than the Government. And THAT'S saying something...

  22. mccp


    Depending on how cheap or broken your SCART cable is, and which type of signal you are using (composite, etc) , it is perfectly possible to end up with a cable that works one way but not another.

    E.g. composite video goes up and down on two conductors - _really_ cheap SCART cables may omit one as the manufacturers assume that your STB with one SCART is only ever going to transmit video and so the incoming video conductor is a costly irrelevance.

    Mine's the one with the BNC connectors in the pocket.

  23. scottboy
    Paris Hilton

    I'm impressed

    that the telephone engineer only charged £20 when faced with obvious cluelessness. I'd have been tempted to suck my teeth and stretch the job out a bit.

    Paris, because she doesn't care which end is inserted either. Allegedly.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My MP has 3 mobile phones

    Buff Hoon, has one on O2, one on T-Mobile and one on Orange - by the looks of the bills.

    Obviously on will be his, one his PA (the wife) and the other his research assistant (child/sibling) but surely the Houses of Commons should be negotiating mobile deals and if they don't then he would certainly get a better deal if they were all from the same company. Except he isn't paying for it so why should he give a damn?

    I also notice in 2007 he claimed £1335 for someone to complete his tax return and "claim for parliamentary expenses" amongst other things. So not only did he steal shit loads of money in expenses, he actually paid someone well over the odds to perform the actual thieving itself.

    I notice that the redacted signatures are definitely asserting that: the expenses are "wholly, exclusively and necessary" to fulfil his parliamentary duties. Poor soul obviously couldn't work properly with dirty windows and an office that hasn't been decorated for 3 months or more and the stress of filling in his own expense claims would have just overwhelmed everything else....

  25. CorruptioN

    Maybe he had...

    one of the cables like this:

    ____________ _____________

    | | \ |

    |_____________\ |____________|

    I accidentally bought one once, and when I tried to return it, the dumbass shop assistant tried telling me it was the right one!

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The issue is not that too many MPs are clueless...

    It's how they get selected in the first place to be candidates for public office, they then get elected, they then progress, they then become fodder and possibly, ultimately a Prime Minister.

    Technical "ability" is no guarantee of suitability - One Dame Hilda comes to mind - for any public office.

    Too may scrub up well, "master their brief", present mendaciously, are peerless with sophistry and have more brass next than you'd meet in a long days march. That the worst are amoral, un-convicted thieves is a continuing disappointment.

  27. Mark Berry

    Well I beg to differ.......

    But when I was an apprentice service engineer with Rumbellows, some manufacturers did have different scart pinouts. Although that has not been the case afaik for many years.

    So he could have been using really old kit........ But I doubt it.

  28. Anonymous Coward

    Guys, guys, guys, guys, guise?

    To be an MP does not mean to be skilled at the technicalities - that's the job of civil servitudes and (un)civil servitudes alike.

    Government relies on people setting budgets with direction of where that arm or action has to go.

    An army of support workers then aims to make policy manifest.

    Policy - Practice.

    Policy is MP area, Practice is (usually) civil or (un)civil servant area.

    So an MP incharge of, say telecoms, does not need to be a telecoms engineer but has to provide direction for the multitudes to uphold, keep and make manifest?

  29. Anonymous Coward

    May I be the first..... point out both ends of a scart lead are the sa


  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE: Guys, guys, guys, guys, guise?

    Perhaps then it would make sense to appoint people to oversee these things who are actually experienced in what they are overseeing.

    For example, i imagine that it would be helpful if the Minister for I.T actually knew how to use a computer, and preferably came from an I.T background.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    toner cartridges


    I too was struck by the number of toner cartridges my MP (Andrew Lansley) seemed to be getting through. I didn't notice any invoices for paper... or perhaps that was the recurrent personalised supplies? Perhaps MPs get headed paper from the House of Commons anyway.

  32. Anonymous Coward

    @AC 15:02

    "I think the key problem is that arts students, who on the whole do the subjects because they can't understand science"

    Sorry, but ... citation needed. In my experience not understanding science is a function of not really caring to. Not everyone finds sarcastic discussions about SCART leads interesting.

    "Of course I think there have been several famous scientists in the artistic field. Damien Hirst, and that fashion designer who died suddenly, Moschino was it?"

    How is Hirst a famous scientist? Is Goldsmith's offering courses in Theoretical Physics now?

    Moschino ... nope ... never studied or practised science.

    "They're the ones who are completely taking the piss out of their subject"

    Yeah, well I'm going to need another citation. Who are these clever piss-taking former scientists you're talking about? I can think of Carsten Holler and Kelsey Brookes (both former biologists) neither of whom are piss-takers.

    "chump customers that fall for the stupid shit."

    Like the idiot gimps who still think science concerns itself with true statements about the world?

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Go easy on the scart cable!

    I bought a replacement charger for my mobe ... couldn't get t connected even though I make my own cables in the lab if neccessary. Some connectors do that to you: bent pin, off-tolerance housing, etc... Don't you wish yourselves sometimes that you could just unload those thankless tasks? -- On someone elses expenses?

  34. Zher

    what an utter waste of time

    How many people here have been in goverment IT depts where tens of thousands have been wasted? 20 quid for some one not knowing which end of a cable is which, and probably not even being able to identify a scart cable from a cat5, its funny yes, but hardly a sin.

    I recall 20-30k being spent on printers just to use the budget up, plasma screens being ordered, all at a cost to the tax payer, I dont give a toss about MPs and these tiny amounts.

    cant the reg look into IT dept exspences that are costing the tax payer and get some headlines?

  35. The First Dave


    Jeez, an awful lot of people on here who _do_ know one end of a scart lead from the other, but not too many that under stand irony (or was it sarcasm) on the part of the journalist.

    While there are many possible explanations for the initial issue, the one that was given is 99.999% certain to be false. Leaving us with the question of: was the whole claim a work-creation exercise for a pal, or was the MP genuinely too clueless to do it himself, and therefore accepted any old bollocks as an explanation from the professional?

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