THIS is an absolute disgrace. I want to know on what basis do they think civil servants working in the Northern Ireland Office are under a bigger threat in this country? wailed Lord Laird upon his discovery that NIO servants were being paid an annual £287 danger money allowance because of the departments work on law and order. This devoted scrutiniser of public spending then immediately questioned NIO expenditure on taxis. This, need I remind you, is the same Lord Laird who was at the centre of controversy and became a figure of fun for, errrr, taking trips to Dublin in taxis for non-existent ‘security reasons’… at roughly the same cost per round trip as a civil servant gets in a year. It is like Alice in Wonderland, he said of the NIO danger money. Well, he should know – no-one lives in a tax-wasting fantasy land like leapin’ Lord Laird does.