"If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."

Friday, 25 June 2010

A Thorn In Our Sides

There can be little doubt that even after the Legg and Kennedy investigations and the formation of IPSA to oversee parliamentary allowances it's still a chaotic, unmanageable and essentially unaccountable mess.

Fhs, raise their c£65k salaries and be done with it. No more expenses, no more 'allowances', no more subsidised cafes, restaurants and bars, no more communications budgets, no more gold-plated pensions on generous terms.

At a time when public finances are under pressure,  when people are being told to work until they drop and welfare benefits are about to undergo the biggest shake-up since their introduction there's no earthly reason why MPs' perks should be exempt from scrutiny. And while we're at it, stop the insulting practice of elevating some of the pigs (eg Prescott, Martin) to the Lords to continue taking the mickey.

When MPs' claims were put under the spotlight last year they were miraculously able to collectively make savings of £2m on 2nd home allowances in the last six months of 2009 (down from £5m in the last six months of 2008).

Partial details have been released showing that kicked-out Shahid Malik (Lab, Dewsbury) and Margaret Moran (Lab, Luton South) milked the system and the taxpayer right up to the last possible minute:

Malik - £2,950 for 6 months' worth of food
Moran - c£14,500 fees paid to employment agencies as she looked for a new job.
John Prescott - £10k in mortgage interest repayments.
Barbara Follett - £3k contents insurance and £35k private security guards.
Diane Abbott - £40 monthly iPhone tariff.
Damian Green - c£3,600 for purchasing 'image licences' for his website.
David Cameron - 24p for stationery.
Chris Huhne - 14p for stationery plus two claims for phone bills of 38p and 40p.
Michael Moore - 84p electricity bill.
Danny Alexander - c£25k.
David Laws - c£24k in the six months to December, of which £7,559 went on the 2nd home he shared with his partner James Lundie.

Douglas Carswell (Con, Clacton) is calling for a spreadsheet to be made available to allow the public to easily compare their MP's expenses with others but so far only limited receipts will be produced later this year - and those will be redacted.

It's beyond a joke. Cameron must push this to the top of his 'list of things to do' and further investigations must be carried out by the Police with a view to bringing charges. As Gordon Brown would no doubt say: Justice must be seen to be done - it's the right thing to do in the interests of all hard-working families; British justice for British MPs!

Full article
Also: Michael Winner - Heigh-Ho! heigh-ho! It's off to work we go. With a shovel and a pick and a rhubarb stick ...

UPDATE: Thanks to the Guardian's Comment is Free for sending me lots of new visitors today by including this post in their top 5 Best of the Web section.  I can only think it's been a slow news day and everyone else is watching the football.

4 comments:

  1. Nicely said GV, however patience. One must rememeber that they have only been in power for nearly three months. (a 'gentle' reminder?)

    Seriously though, well posted and I concur whole heartedly with your suggestion, with one or two caveats.

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  2. :-) Mr W. I think they've had long enough to sort out their expenses though. We didn't need two internal investigations and an independent quango set up to tell us what we already know - that the system is too lax and open to fraud. Cameron *must* sort this out (I'm a bit angry!)

    Dare I ask, what are your caveats?

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  3. GV, first apologies as I just cud not resist the temptation to 'reverse quote' and trust you accepted the 'tongue in cheek' aspect.

    Caveats: That it is not set too high, that it does not take into account their discounted food, that they do not receive tax concessions on travel to and from home and office, that realistic caps are set on rent, to name just a few. If we the people are expected to make 'cuts' in our living standards with the imposed hike of VAT, then so can they. Also that any proposed increase in salary is subject to a national referendum - it is after all our money!

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  4. Of course, Mr W - hence the 'smiley'.

    Your 'caveats' seem like common sense to me. Salaries, if they are to rise at all, should be around the £80-85k mark (and even that might be pushing it in the current climate). There should be NO discounted food/drinks whatsoever. No taxpayer-funded travelling between constituency and HoC. *Absolutely nothing* beyond their salary would be my 'caveat'.

    Cameron needs to sort it out asap before the British Workers Autumn of Being Slightly Miffed Coalition take to the streets.

    ReplyDelete

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