Tag Archives: MPs expenses

Labour Economics

The new watchdog overseeing MPs’ salaries from next year  will itself cost over £6.5 million per annum to run.

The Legg inquiry into MPs’ expenses claims, has cost the taxpayer over £1 million.

During this year (2009), MPs salaries, expenses and sundry “bolt-ons” have cost the taxpayer about £183 million.

Next year the total equivalent outlay will cost the taxpayer at least £185 million and probably more if we factor-in the cost of the inevitable challenges by MPs.

That’s an increase in total annual cost of at least £2 million and represents quite a few porn film viewings as well as a whole estate of duck houses.

Gordon Brown has said that the new system will be cheaper. No it won’t – not according to the principles of Elementary Arithmetic.  Who has been advising the Prime Minister? Alistair Darling?

We’ve had the Kelly Report, the Legg Inquiry and  the formation of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA), spawned by the Parliamentary Standards Act 2009.

IPSA will be headed-up by a chum of Alistair Campbell – well-known Quangocrat, Sir Ian Kennedy.

The old trough has  been destroyed but from Spring 2010, there will be a brand new gilt-edged one, with a whole new set of punters. Good quango-piggies looking after the old naughty expenses-piggies.

It seems that it would have been cheaper for the taxpayer if the Daily Telegraph had kept its mouth shut and our MPs had carried-on with their gang-bang of the Westminster expenses system.

It’s like the old joke:

Man (phoning his Bank): ” My credit card was stolen a year ago”

Bank: ” Why didn’t you report the theft earlier?”

Man: “Whoever nicked it has been spending far less than my wife.”

We have ourselves a Pyrrhic victory and by now, should have learned that sometimes pragmatism should be allowed to triumph over morality.

Off with their heads

MPs – The future

Police  have referred four cases of alleged abuses of parliamentary expenses to the Director of Public Prosecutions but the identities of the four parliamentarians have nor been revealed.

The Director of Public Prosecutions is “superintended” by the Attorney General who is Baroness Scotland. A few months ago the Baronness was was fined for hiring a foreign national who did not have permission to work in the United Kingdom.

The  Police said “a small number” of further cases were still being investigated.

No arrests have been made, although the police have interviewed all of the MPs and Lords involved under caution.

If any politicians are found guilty of fraud or false accounting, they could face maximum penalties of 10 or seven years in prison.

It is an interesting fact that there has never been a  successful prosecution  of a Member  of Parliament.

Below is an extract from the Exercise of Reasonable Discretion Bill 2008-2009.  It shows what MPs were thinking at the time.

The Bill aims to ensure that public authorities and public servants would not be subject to any criminal or civil penalty as a result of the exercise of reasonable discretion in the performance of their functions. Its provisions would cover public authorities, public servants and contracts for public services. The term public authority is defined by the Bill and includes the NHS, the police, local and central and devolved Government and non-departmental public bodies. The formal intent of the Bill is to indemnify public servants, central government, local government and other public agencies from legal action if they take decisions in good faith, as a result of the exercise of reasonable discretion, in the public interest.

CLICK HERE  for the whole Exercise of Reasonable Discretion Bill.  That is the bill which MPs will be able to hide behind. It is a short bill and well-worth reading

Cherie Antoinette.

“Let them eat a lorra lorra cake, chuck.”

Tony Blair has not yet broken cover and declared an interest in becoming President of Europe. The post will be created once the Czechs have ratified the Treaty of Lisbon. Gordon Brown has made a decision (!) and declared that he will be lobbying on Blair’s behalf, should Blair decide to put his name forward. Continue reading Cherie Antoinette.

A real Legg-up

 

“I’m as innocent as the next man.”

The MPs expenses fiasco rumbles on and Parliament’s reputation is still heading South. Much was made of the previous Speaker’s lack of management skill and consequently he was removed from office. So where is Speaker Bercow? In the last few days, his name has not been mentioned at all. This is the time when he should be earning his salary and TELLING members what they should do. Continue reading A real Legg-up

Home Sexretary

What a laugh – Jacqui Smith’s husband has been watching porn movies at the taxpayer’s expense!!!! The red-tops are in a frenzy and poor Jacqui is both angry and embarrassed and there have been the usual mutterings of  “We will of course pay it back.” 

“Schadenfreude” was invented for this situation.

The fact is that the type of film that he has been watching is irrelevant. The real argument is about MP’s expenses. How many of us have never watched a porn movie? Admittedly, the fact that on this occasion, films “with an adult content” have been watched does add a certain piquancy but once again we are in a very British situation.   The sin is not in the act but in getting caught.

Men enjoy watching porn movies but most men do not watch them with a box of Kleenex,  “spanking  the monkey”,  whilst drooling  down their grubby shirt fronts. Most XXX movies are   ridiculous and funny  – not seedy.  Sometimes the watching of porn is a social event. I have been to many “gentlemens’ evenings” where at some stage in the evening, after a skin-full, we have sat down and spent the odd hour watching filth with a nudge-nudge and a wink-wink. Great fun – and harmless and a bonding-session “par excellence”.

I have attended these functions in the company of bank managers, solicitors, barristers, policemen, businessmen, high-ranking executives and all manner of “respectables”. Are we perverts? Not all of us.

Womens’ attitude towards filthy movies is a bit different. There is a joke which asks ” Why do women watch porn movies right to the end?” Answer:  “To see if the couple gets married.”

Let’s face it – a “Chick Flick” is all about romance, love, passion and fantasy. A “Boy flick” is about sex and violence . (I am only bracketing “sex” and “violence” together because that is the British convention.)

Today, a certain Fleet Street Grande Dame has written that Ms Smith has been “betrayed” by her husband because the watching of porn is tantamount to unfaithfulness. No it isn’t.

Several years ago, my secretary phoned me and told me in a hushed and embarrassed tone that a bill had arrived for a week-long stay at a hotel and she wanted to know what she should do about “the extras”. The “extras” consisted of a list of about twenty porn films which (apparently) I had been watching in my hotel room.  I told her to phone the hotel and ask them to “lose” the items from the bill. I then phoned the hotel myself and was pleased to discover that when I scrolled through the films (as you do) – every film that I scrolled through registered on their system and through a system fault, it looked as if I had spent the entire week watching porn. An attractive proposition but untrue.

The point of the story is that at no stage did I feel that I should go onto the back foot and be defensive. There is no way that I would put on my slacks, shirt and pullover (the weekend politico-casual look), read a prepared apology from a piece of paper, apologise again and look terrified or ashamed.

Richard Timney has apologised for embarrassing his wife but otherwise, he has nothing to apologise about. Neither should he feel embarrassed about watching porn – although, quite understandably he is –  but that is only to appease the pruriently frustrated over-50 females and the God Squad. 

Jacqui Smith is as good a Home Secretary as there has been in the last few years so it would be a pity if (yet again) a perfectly respectable lady were to be forced-out by the lubricious hounds of Planet Media. No need to force her out – next May’s General Election will do that.

Currently, the Labour government is on the run and of course anything that we can throw at them seems deserved but let’s please keep it in perspective.

Oink!

The perfect line of curly tails has temporarily stopped flicking with pleasure because it seems that the trough of plenty is about to be removed. The squealing and slurping has stopped because the Mama Pig that is the taxpayer needs some respite. There is a real danger of drought – and it is not the drought predicted by the Global Warming Mullahs – it if the financial drought caused by the double-whammy of “on the take” bankers and their avaricious politician chums.

The Home Secretary, Jacqui “Within the rules” Smith,  argues that she has done nothing wrong and she is right. What about hanging? That  also used to be within the rules – did that make it right?  Within living memory there were those who were “following orders”. Were they right?

The debate is one of morality and not political chauvinism. If you are caught with both hands in the cookie jar – don’t blame the jar.

There have been many debates as to the merits of electing politicians who are financially “independent” – those who do not see politics as a “nice little earner”.  Many are “at it” in the Commons and no doubt some are at it in the House of Lords.  Why are they at it? They are at it because many of them are about to enter the last 12 months of comparative plenty. Nests need to be feathered before the arrival of their personal political winter. For many, this is the most that they will ever earn.

It is interesting to note that of the top 20 MPs  claiming for second homes (The Independent yesterday), 14 are Labour. All are from outer-London and the surrounding area because they are allowed to claim Additional Costs Allowance. The ACA is discretionary – it is not compulsory.

Needless to say, there has been yet more fancy footwork from Gordon Brown, followed by  yet another disturbance in the long grass as Sir Christopher Kelly  and the Committee on Standards in Public Life are mobilised.

By the time that they complete their ruminations, it may well have been cheaper to leave well alone.