About the MP’s expenses thing – it’s being done to death I know, but I just have to ‘have my say’ before it chokes me. And being a lazy arse, I’m going to C&P some stuff from comments I made previously elsewhere.
First of all, I hate the fact that the rubbish tabloids are gaining from it. And what were the gods of justice thinking when they allowed this to be the Telegraph’s baby? I mean I’m glad it’s been exposed and all – the list was going to come out anyway – but if it had to be prematurely exposed I just wish it could have been done by some random, not-for-profit, decent blogger or something rather than a bigoted rag like the Telegraph.
Anyway, it’s out now and people are angry.
I think it’s fair to say, just as Zhisou said on his blog, that we shouldn’t expect our MP’s to be out of pocket for us just because their job demands that they stay away from home for periods of time. We’ve no right to expect our MP’s to be out of pocket for us at all. Equally, I think we’ve every right to expect them not to milk the system for every penny they can either but sure, they’re fully entitled to claim fair and reasonable expenses.
Zeddie also rightly pointed out that, with all this media-induced outrage, we are in danger of moving towards a time when MP’s have to be self-financing. We don’t want that. To paraphrase Zeddie, we don’t want end up in a situation whereby being an MP is something that only the rich can do. No, that would have terrible consequences.
It’s also been said by some that there are more important things for us to twist our knickers over. Well that point may have some merit but I think it’s also important that we have trustworthy politicians and when we feel that they’ve let us down, it’s important that we are able to ask for answers. Sure, there’s some self-righteous hypocrisy involved in all this indignation. Many people fiddle their expenses. Stephen Fry does. He thinks we do too. Not usually at the expense of the tax-payer but people do fiddle if they can. A bit. But there’s claiming extra mileage on one’s petrol allowance and there’s taking the p!$$ and it’s not surprising that this government tried its best to protect its MP’s expenses list from the Freedom of Information Act because it’s clear as crystal that some of our MP’s have been wildly abusing the spirit of the expenses rules. Like I say, I don’t object to them claiming their expenses. I just want them to be honest and fair and transparent. It’s one thing taking a few envelopes or the odd box of printer paper from the office when no-one is looking, but it’s quite a big something else to furnish one’s entire second home with John Lewis appliances, accessories and state-of-the-art home entertainment systems using tax-payers money, all of which, incidentally, they get to keep when they lose their jobs if they’re not re-elected. I mean, wouldn’t it be wiser and more frugal to pass on all these mod-cons to incoming politicians who will be needing second homes?
And take the flippin’ Flipping scam. If you don’t know what Flipping is (I didn’t until all this came out), it’s the term they’re using to describe the dodgy MP practise of owning two or more homes and switching second home status each time one home needs some work in order to maximise their expenses allowances. I mean that is indefensible, isn’t it? It’s not an insignificant little scam that most of us would risk doing for a cheeky little extra perk. It’s bigger than that. In fact, it’s immoral. The MP’s who have been involved in Flipping know damn well that it’s dishonest and out of order and all those disingenuous claims that they didn’t realise or that it was a genuine error are quite simply, rubbish.
What I can’t understand is why they haven’t purpose-built residential apartment blocks close to Westminster. All the MP’s who have to travel into London can have an apartment each. It can be a nice apartment. Posh even. We won’t begrudge them a few luxuries such as loo roll holders and central heating and stuff. They can have nice things that enhance the homeliness of their part-time homes. We just don’t want them to abuse our trust. Surely we have the right to expect our MP’s to have at least some integrity.
Methinks sadly that much of the damage has been done and now the BNP just needs to sit back and enjoy the ride because the mainstreams have done all the work for them.
For goodness sake folks, vote Green!!