Article in the Telegraph
"Asked by a caller to a local news television programme whether he knew how much state pensioners received, he tried to dodge the question, before finally mumbling: "I think it's about £30 quid now, isn't it?"
In fact, the basic pension is £90.70 a week for a single person and £145.45 for a couple, with more available for those claiming tax credits.
Mr Clegg's error, during an interview with ITV Westcountry, threatens to overshadow his keynote speech which will close Liberal Democrat conference.
He was speaking in response to a question from viewer Wally Cotgrave, a retired blacksmith from Sidmouth, Devon, 69, who afterwards said he was unimpressed with Mr Clegg's answer.
Mr Cotgrave, who himself claims the state pension with his wife Maureen, 73, added: "People like him make the right noises and say the right things when they want your vote, but they don't actually know anything. They're all out of touch.
"He's been talking about pensions this week but he doesn't know the first thing about the subject.""No-one as clueless as this about pensions should have the cheek to talk on the subject and isn't credible as a party leader. I'm one of his constituents and I'm in need of his help. I wrote to him many times and he eventually came to see me but he hadn't read any of my letters so didn't have any grasp of the matter. His office had printed out some of what I had written and he'd apparently walked from the car giving it a glance or two hoping to get the gist of it, and when I opened the door to him he explained that that's what he'd been doing. - I gathered that by smiling and being friendly and charming that was supposed to make up for not having a clue what I had written to him about...)o:
It was impossible for me to cover a complex subject in the half-hour I had and he was clearly anxious to get to his next appointment. - I said I needed to see him again but he hasn't been to see me again. (I am too disabled to go to see him.) - He went through the standard routine of writing a letter to the Secretary of State for Health.
Here are extracts from the email I sent to Nick Clegg on 8th September 2006:
"Thank you very much for your letter dated 09 August 2006 and for sending me a copy of the letter you sent to Patricia Hewitt, Secretary of State for Health, and a copy of the reply you received from the Department of Health...
I was disturbed, but not surprised, at the complacent tone of the reply you received from Andy Burnham. - If you were to write to the Department of Transport about traffic signals not working, you would not expect a reply that stated that traffic signals should be working, nor would you find it a satisfactory response. - But you wrote about the need for patients taking steroids or certain other medicines to be warned not to eat salt while taking the drugs and the reply was, "Where appropriate, doctors and pharmacists should advise patients on the need for any modifications to their diet (including salt intake) and/or lifestyle when taking medicines." - Stripped of circumlocution and ambiguity, this reads, "Doctors and pharmacists should warn patients not to eat salt when taking these drugs." - This reply is arrant nonsense! - Patients are NOT being warned to avoid salt and salty food when taking steroids and HRT and other drugs that cause sodium and water retention and thereby initiate morbid obesity and a host of other grave and painful health problems for the innocent patients they are prescribing the drugs for! - If they were, there would not be the many thousands of steroid victims (people with steroid-induced Cushing's Syndrome) that there are! - Nor, to the best of my knowledge, is there any reference to the importance of avoiding salt and salty food while on the medication in the PIL (Patient Information Leaflet) which accompanies the medicine and which I take leave to guess Mr Burnham has not checked up on.
I didn't think much to the website www.medicines.org.uk. There appears to be no warning about salt/sodium re steroids there either, and for amitriptyline, they say, "Increased appetite and weight gain may be a side effect of the medicine or may be due to the relief of depression." - Whereas the cause is sodium and water retention...
This is a tragedy and a scandal similar to that perpetrated by the tobacco industry, which for decades lied/avoided telling the truth about its harmful products. People need to be told the truth about steroids and other medications, and doctors who are so ignorant about the ghastly and extremely common side-effects of the drugs they far too readily prescribe should not be ALLOWED to prescribe them. - The endocrinologist who was largely responsible for the harm done to me by the HRT I was inappropriately prescribed for nearly ten years confessed to me that she had never even HEARD of sodium retention until I showed it to her in a copy of the British National Formulary I had obtained!!!! - It is the most common side-effect of the HRT and is the direct cause of most of the other side-effects of HRT. - She'd never even bothered to look the HRT up in the BNF! - She wept on my shoulder and urged me to sue her for negligence, saying she was well insured, but I have almost as low an opinion of the Law as practised in this country as I have of medicine as practised in this country and did not want to waste my scant energy and money I needed to cope with all my disabilities by suing her."
And I drew Nick Clegg's attention to some of my blog entries about all this. I have not received a reply to my email and I have not heard from Nick Clegg that he is pursuing the subject, and despite my repeated requests for him to come to see me again so that I can better explain the matter to him, he does not appear to intend doing so. (I am too ill and disabled - because of sustained NHS negligence - to go to see him at his surgery.)
I voted for Nick Clegg but it was clearly a wasted vote.