Saturday, September 26, 2009

Expensegate revisited.

Over the last two days the Telegraph has splashed its front pages here and here with a reminder of the Parliamentary expenses scandal of a few months ago. I shared the opinion of most people I know, that the Daily Telegraph was right to publish MP's expenses, even if the way they were 'leaked' was a bit underhand. If this had not happened, we would never have found out what was going on.

I do accept that there was much unfairness - and little judgement deployed about the differing seriousness of the various claims highlighted. Seemed to me that some politicians were very harshly treated, while it seemed that some 'got away with it'. But it was difficult to generate any sympathy for individual MPs, no matter how 'innocent', because of the extent to which efforts were made to keep it all secret. When the expenses were officially released, all the blacked out pages, left everyone involved in the 'leaking' appearing fully justified. People were angry about what had been claimed - and they were even more angry about the attempts to keep it secret. It was just not acceptable that claims were made for non-existent mortgages, or for Council Tax in excess of what had been paid. People do not think that properties should have been 'flipped', or that allowances should have been claimed on properties that had been let to others etc.. The next Parliament must be completely different - for the well being of our democracy.

The reason I applaud the Telegraph for reminding us of this issue is that it must not be forgotten when the General Election is called. I hope that the Telegraph returns to this story as the campaign proper starts - not to make life difficult for incumbent MPs, but to make certain that all candidates are pressured to make clear promises before being elected. What has happened has happened. We can't change that. The damage has been done. What's most important now, is that we do all we can to make sure that our next Parliament and its MPs are elected on a precise promise not to repeat the abuses of the past.


Give me an M ... said...

The Telegraph also reported that “Gordon Brown came under further pressure last night when Lord Mandelson suggested that he is ready to accept a job under a future Conservative government.” Who knows, Mandy might yet take over Cameron’s job. The closet Conservative! Mandy has said several times he apes the Foreign Secretary job – so Cameron could park him there!

Anonymous said...

Plaid came out Squeeky Clean from the MPs expenses scandal.

Little do people know that two out of the three Plaid MPs did put claims in for Accountancy fees.

Elfyn Llwyd £857.75

Adam Price (written in Welsh) £293.75

The Telegraph published the bulk of the MPs expenses to coincide with the European Elections; which gave the three mainstream parties something of a grubbing; giving UKIP a major boost.

I think we can safely assume that UKIP will be trying to field candidates in Wales, as they will be in the rest of the United Kingdom.

Anonymous said...

One hopes then that you will be flagging up your sitting MP's claims for a fine for failing to pay his council tax, his various wigs, the giant TV set, the ridiculous amounts he spends on food ( always the limit of what can be claimed ), the Lib Dem office con in Newtown and the eye-test that he charged us for. And this is only scratching the surface......

Alistair Barber said...

""I know, that the Daily Telegraph was right to publish MP's expenses, even if the way they were 'leaked' was a bit underhand.""

What do you mean "a bit underhand"?

It's not as half as underhand as the 'official' version that the Government sought to publish.

The Government version was redacted to such an extent that none of the scandal would have been revealed.

Let's have more 'underhand'.

Anonymous said...

What about the fact that Lembit Opik lived with his fiancee whilst claiming the mortgage on his flat in London? How on earth has that not been picked up??

Glyn Davies said...

GmaM - Don't buy this. I've been out of touch on this, but no way do I see Mandelson ever supporting the Conservatives. He's cunningly tribal.

Anon - No party came out of the expenses scandal 'squeaky clean'. There is no party advantage to be taken.

Alistair - No disagreement between us at all. But it has to be admitted that 'leaking' was a bit underhand. That's not to say it was not right. Like you I think it was.

Give me an M said...

Give me an M> said in jest Glyn! In the same vain, maybe Mandy will do a Tony Blair and inject himself into the emerging fray swirling around Iran and its illegitimate leadership.

Btw, heard about the stunning turnaround in the US political polls? Support for President Obama’s policies among Americans is hemorrhaging fast. Why? Because the majority of seniors are VERY unhappy at Obama’s plans to strip them of their Medicare benefits – half a trillion dollars will be taken out of Medicare under the Obama Health Care plan. Not a plan that seniors want as it will inevitably mean they will face difficulties in accessing medical care. Under Obama’s plan doctors will be paid less for each senior visit to the doctor. This kind of thing happened in the UK with regard to NHS dentists. Pretty soon many NHS dentists stopped treating or cut back on treating NHS patients preferring to switch to private plans. Under the Obama Health Care Plan seniors will not be denied access to doctors; just that doctors will not want to see them absent them paying additional or private fees, but many Medicare recipients are on very limited budgets since they are no longer working.

Because seniors are very unhappy it is expected that they will vote against the Democrats come 2010 (all the seats in the lower house (House of Representatives) will be up for election along with a third of the Senate). The Democrat Party is expected to lose its filibuster proof majority in the Senate and maybe fifty seats in the House of Representatives which will mean a swing of 100 votes against them. Harry Reid, the majority leader of the Senate is expected to lose heavily – his supporters and voters are deserting him in droves in his home state. Pelosi (in the House of Representatives is expected to survive – her Congressional District is in San Francisco and it is expected she will easily keep her seat, but her position as Speaker will likely prove vulnerable after the 2010 national elections. The Democratic Party might turn on her and want her out – much like what is happening in NY State where the incumbent Democrat Governor is under pressure from the Democrats not to stand for reelection thereby allowing another Democrat to run and possibly keep the New York state governorship in Democratic hands.

In my state (Virginia) we are expecting the Governorship to change hands – the election is being portrayed as a confidence vote on Obama’s “administration” – “administration”? Exactly, what administration? Obama’s “administration” is coming apart at the seams, he can’t control the extreme left in his own party which is doing great harm to the senior support for the Democrats – if Obama’s Health Plan is forced through before the 2010 elections as some expect, then the Democrats will take a very severe beating in those elections. I don’t see the Democrats losing both houses, but their power will be severely weakened, and they will likely take on the smell of a lame duck party ready for wipe-out come 2012.