Spending Challenge is back!


12:28 pm - August 20th 2010

by Clifford Singer    


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Spending Challenge websiteGeorge Osborne is nothing if not persistent. First his much-derided Spending Challenge website was taken down after being swamped with racist and other offensive statements.

Then his Spending Challenge Facebook page – announced via a much-trailed web conference between David Cameron and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg – was deleted after it was beaten by a goat.

And, finally, Robin Hood Tax launched their own, much more sensible, alternative. But now Spending Challenge is back for more.

Yesterday the Treasury unveiled a sanitised version of the website – with all visitor comments deleted – and asked the public to rate more than 44,000 suggestions received.

The deadline is 31 August, which, as Chaminda Jayanetti points out, gives us a little over two minutes 20 seconds to consider each idea, assuming we don’t stop to sleep.

Fortunately, most of the suggestions can be dealt with in rather less than two minutes. Despite the Great Cull, a disturbing number are still of the "I’m not racist but…" variety, while others are mind-numbingly repetitive, such as the hundreds calling for the High Speed 2 rail link to be scrapped. (An organised lobby? Surely not.)

But some of our favourite proposals have made it through, even though we did lose the popular "Beef and vegetable casserole" recipe and a "windfall tax on Tim Worstall". So there’s still time to tell government to "wait until at least three fires have broken out in the same area before sending firemen out", "divert all welfare funding to nuclear weapons" (would that induce a Lib Dem veto?), and "FORCE MAN U ‘FANS’ TO LIVE IN MANCHESTER".

Astonishingly you can use the same fictitious email address to register and vote as many times as you like.

Even MyDavidCameron.com had a more secure voting system than that – and that was about choosing funny posters, not deciding who should lose their jobs.

Some more reasonable submissions have made it past the censors too, though, including:

and, with startling clarity and irrefutable logic:

So, although Spending Challenge is devoid of legitimacy, it probably doesn’t do any harm to vote for these – and what you do behind closed doors is up to you.

But we have a special suggestion for you: Don’t cut public sector jobs.

Why not quickly register and vote 5 stars for that one? We think some collective action may be required here to show what a sham this consultation actually is. Fancy getting involved?

Not that Osborne will be listening: his real consultation – the one with his City friends – also takes place behind closed doors, far from the maddening crowdsourcing of Spending Challenge.

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About the author
This is a guest contribution. Clifford Singer runs The Other Taxpayer's Alliance website. You can join the Facebook group here.
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Story Filed Under: Blog ,Fight the cuts ,Humour

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Reader comments


From the “much more sensible”, alternative, Robin Hood site:

“The financial crisis started in the banking sector and we spent £1.4 trillion bailing it out. ”

We did? Really?

£1.4 trillion is 100% of GDP. Yet total national debt is still under 100% of GDP. So, err, no, we didn’t spend £1.4 trillion bailing out the banking sector.

So is “much more sensible” one of these new synonyms for “ignorant” or “innumerate” then? Or is that what “alternative” means?

That’s no worse than pretending the cost of EU membership is 200 billion a year though Tim.

Tim, that’s £10 please : )

Maybe if the gov changed the tax law so that people like Mr Green, (employed by the current govt ) they would not have to cut so much.

So now the tory trolls want to play down the size of the bank bail out. Funny, that was not their line from tory central about 18 months ago when they said the bank bail out was going to cost the tax payer too much. Seem to remember Mr Redwood backed up buy numerous trolls telling us that the banks should go to the wall.

What has changed?

Silly Sally what has changed is the tory govt now want to make deep cuts in govt spending for ideological reasons.

Tim W – the Institute of Economic Affairs is today claiming that Britain’s actual debt stands at £4.8 trillion. take that!

@ 5…well, yes, they do….but if you want to play with that number then we’ve got to start counting all those public sector pension promises.

Local government pensions are funded, civil service pensions aren’t.

The latter are financed on a pay-as-you-go basis out of current tax revenues, as are the old-age pensions for state pensioners.

If civil service pensions – as well as contracted payments due for PFI funded projects – are to be included in some measure of Britain’s “true” debt, then state pension entitlements should also be included. But what then of “entitlements” to sickness benefits and Job Seekers’ Allowances. And how about future entitlements to schooling for children, at least up to the minimum school leaving age, or for healthcare from the NHS for that (costly) heart bypass or cancer operation?

A little reflection will show that including future entitlements in some estimate of Britain’s “true debt” creates a lot of puzzles and arbitrary distinctions.

8. nigel barnacle

scrap Trident and all Trident replacement expenditure-tax the rich (those over £50,000 a year ) more-redistribute more to the poor-Cut rail fares and tax the rail companies more on their profits-tax the banks more-spend on sustainable energy not nuclear energy-protect elderly benefits eg bus passes/heating allowances/tv licenses.
freeze MP’s pay/allowances/pensions for at least 5 years-protect the public sector jobs and services -no to the middle class free schools/academies-yes to a robin hood tax-penalise car drivers not bus/rail users in order to combat global warming

10-step Taylorist Guide to Multiple Voting with Spending Challenge

As explained above, you can re-register to vote as many times as you like.

Here’s a guide to the quickest method

VOTING FIRST TIME

1) Turn up loud some music – this is going to get boring.

2) Launch your browser and create two tabs (or windows if you don’t have tabbed browsing) – we’ll call them tab A and tab B.

3) Go to the suggestion in tab A:

http://bit.ly/a7QNUA

4) Go to the registration form in tab B:

http://spendingchallenge.hm-treasury.gov.uk/join_form

5) Fill in the registration form:

a) Use a short username like abc1 (you can then use abc2, abc3, etc for successive usernames)

b) Use any email address you like – it doesn’t check (I’m using the TaxPayers’ Alliance’s email)

c) Use a simple password, eg “aaaaa” (min 5 letters)

d) Ignore other fields and submit

TIP: Type your password in a text document. Then copy it. Now you will be able to paste it in the password and confirm password fields each time you register, saving 0.4 secs.

TIP: Once you’ve filled “Confirm password” field it should be possible to submit the form by hitting your Enter key rather than clicking “Agree and register” button, possibly reducing scrolling and saving another 0.3 secs.

6) Go to the suggestion in tab A, scroll down to “Add a rating” and give it 5 stars.

RE-VOTING

7) Go to tab B and click “Log out” at top right. The link will transform into “Register” – click it.

8) Re-register, as per stage (5) – you can use the same email address and password.

TIPS: In most browsers, typing the first character in each field will bring up the text you entered last time round so not necessary to retype everything (just change the number at end of username). Hit your tab key to move around fields.

If you followed the tip in stage (5) you should also be able to paste your passwords.

9) Go to tab A, refresh the page (ctrl-R or command-R), and re-vote.

10) Go back to stage (7) and repeat as many times as you can bear.

@ 9….Gosh, I remember the howls of outrage when Godlman Sachs did this to hte Robin Hood Tax site.

Geese n’ ganders, eh?

Adding to Sunny’s guide.

Use 3 browsers: Firefox, Safari, Opera. Google them and download, install. To create new tabs Ctrl + T (You can use your left hand for this.) Ctrl + C is copy; Ctrl + V is paste. As any copied text is cross browser friendly you should not have any problem at all other than typing 123 or abc at the end of a user name etc.

All browsers are “Form Fill” Freindly, too – as mentioned should you wish leave them as fill form, this will be remembered in your browser.

Enjoy.

Tut! *Friendly.

@ 9….Gosh, I remember the howls of outrage when Godlman Sachs did this to hte Robin Hood Tax site.

Oh Tim, you right-wingers are so humourless…


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

    Spending Challenge is back! Time to hijack it? http://bit.ly/awP3pY

  2. donpaskini

    RT @libcon: Spending Challenge is back! Time to hijack it? http://bit.ly/awP3pY

  3. teresasmisc

    RT @libcon: Spending Challenge is back! Time to hijack it? http://bit.ly/awP3pY

  4. Other TaxPayers Alli

    Spending Challenge is back! It's a farce but here's how to vote anyway just to annoy them http://bit.ly/9PygCg @libcon

  5. MyDavidCameron

    RT @OtherTPA: Spending Challenge is back! It's a farce but here's how to vote anyway just to annoy them http://bit.ly/9PygCg @libcon

  6. Tim Beadle

    RT @OtherTPA: Spending Challenge is back! It's a farce but here's how to vote anyway just to annoy them http://bit.ly/9PygCg @libcon

  7. Martin McIvor

    RT @OtherTPA: Spending Challenge is back! It's a farce but here's how to vote anyway just to annoy them http://bit.ly/9PygCg @libcon

  8. tom_watson

    RT @libcon: Spending Challenge is back! Time to hijack it? http://bit.ly/awP3pY

  9. Geoff Owen

    RT @OtherTPA : Spending Challenge is back! It's a farce but here's how to vote anyway just to annoy them http://bit.ly/9PygCg @libcon

  10. But, Sir...

    RT @libcon: Spending Challenge is back! Time to hijack it? http://bit.ly/awP3pY

  11. sunny hundal

    Spending Challenge site is back! http://bit.ly/9PygCg – It's a farce, so maybe we should hijack it?

  12. Humphrey Cushion

    RT @sunny_hundal: Spending Challenge site is back! http://bit.ly/9PygCg – It's a farce, so maybe we should hijack it? < All those in favour!

  13. Rob Holdsworth

    RT @OtherTPA: Spending Challenge is back! It's a farce but here's how to vote anyway just to annoy them http://bit.ly/9PygCg @libcon

  14. Jane Watkinson

    Spending Challenge is back! | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/WkwTHvx via @libcon

  15. PCS GONW Branch

    RT @OtherTPA: Spending Challenge is back! It's a farce but here's how to vote anyway just to annoy them http://bit.ly/9PygCg @libcon

  16. Crafty Jess

    Can everyone please read this and have some fun condemnation http://bit.ly/9PygCg

  17. Humphrey Cushion

    RT @sunny_hundal: Spending Challenge site is back! http://bit.ly/9PygCg – It's a farce < Come on, vote to save our services, its important

  18. Teresa

    Spending Challenge is back! | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/4MAqAjU via @libcon

  19. Paul Sandars

    RT @libcon: Spending Challenge is back! Time to hijack it? http://bit.ly/awP3pY

  20. SMS PolicyWatch

    Spending Challenge: why not "wait until at least 3 fires have broken out in the same area before sending firemen out"! http://bit.ly/awP3pY





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