Thursday, December 31, 2009

Its the 'Response' that mattered most.

Over the last eight months, I have posted several times about the abuse by some MPs of their expenses system. In general, my comments have been about the inadequacy of response, rather than the claims themselves. I've also commented about the indiscriminate nature of the media coverage. Public anger has been directed at the sheer ridiculous of some of the claims, rather than at the seriousness of what would be fraud if others had done the same thing. People remember the moat, the duck house, the porn films, the biscuits, the pantie liners etc.. more than the phantom mortgages, the fictitious Council Tax, claims for second homes that were rented out to others. Its not so much the unfairness in this that bothers me, as the damage it does to the careers of good MPs. Today's Telegraph provides a good example.

In my opinion, John Gummer, MP for Suffolk Coastal has been an outstanding Parliamentarian. He brought something distinctive to the Conservative Party. He brought with him a genuine right-of-centre perspective on environmental issues. For some reason, green politics have been associated with 'the left'. David Cameron has done a lot to change this perception, and John Gummer has played a key role in this. Whatever, very disappointingly he announced yesterday that he's standing down from the House of Commons at the General Election. Consolation is that he's intending to increase his commitment to environmental matters.

Today the headline over the article by Rosa Prince informing us of the retirement read "MP who claimed for mole catchers will stand down". The first paragraph informs us that "...the former Tory cabinet minister who charged the taxpayer to rid his country estate of moles has announced that he is to stand down...". Now most of us accept that the taxpayer should not have been paying for mole catchers, no matter what the fees office might have agreed. John Gummer accepted that and repaid the money along with other claims for gardening. I didn't know until today that he also paid a similar amount to a local charity, and ceased claiming second home allowance altogether because he felt that MPs should accept "corporate blame" for the "flawed expenses system". That's right - accept blame. This was the response of an honourable man, who regretted having gone along with a system that he shouldn't have. If all MPs had responded as John Gummer did, there would be far higher respect for politicians today. This post is for those who read just headlines, and the first paragraphs of articles - as I often do.


Robert said...

You want to abuse a system which is open to abuse and you get caught then sadly as they say Mud sticks.

I'm classed as being Paraplegic although myself I just think I've got bad legs, but because my bowel and bladder have packed up they said it's spinal cord damage and your paraplegic .

I waited two years to get a wheelchair, the wheel fell off within six months and I waited another year for them to fix it.

I took out a loan at the bank to buy why self a wheelchair and three NHS ones came at the same time, I've been waiting for one for four years.

So when I see people use expenses to catch moles or cleaning weeds from your walls of your house, and I look at my benefits of £89 a week knowing that in 2010 I will lose another £12 as I go from IB to ESA, boy it makes me angry to see brown claiming £500 to paint his summer house, it's a bloody shed.

For me I've been in labour for 43 years I tore up my card last year, and to be honest labour, Tory, Lib Dem's I cannot be bothered anymore , I've wasted a life time paying into a party politician sham.

Welsh Left said...

Well Robert the only politician in the Senedd fighting to keep the Disability Living Allowance is Plaid Cymru's Leanne Wood. And Plaid's MPs were the only party questioning Labour's so-called "welfare reforms" which are supported by the Tories and will punish disabled people even more.

Voting doesn't change much at all, it's true, but my conscience is clean knowing I voted for a party that opposed those plans.

Anonymous said...

There are 2.7 million people on incapacity benefits. Until all political parties accept that the majority of this is nothing more than 'hidden' unemployment, the country cannot afford to offer the real disabled more meaningful help.

Labour squandered 16 consecutive years of economic growth by failing to deliver any increase in private sector employment for Britons and by presiding over unprecedented waste in public spending. As a consequence, we cannot now afford to help those in real need.

Defcon X said...

... as a total aside, "a little something for haggard nerves' ...

Spoof or truth on ‘this day of days’, first day of 2010? (based on a line in ‘Riddick’). You decide based on results.

"As logic knows, as logic dictates, as logic does': DEFCON X.

Following on from previous ‘logic predictions’/logic-hunches (including logic predictions of real estate collapse in UK/Europe (published in a letter printed by icWales/WM/E group, MEGA economic woes, nuke trigger ‘outing’, and most recently the Detroit bound airliner outrage (within just 24 hours of my ‘logic-hunch’ published on Glyn’s blog an attack was finalized and launched by a bin Laden's al-Qaida or affiliated group).

During 2010 watch out for: Iran offering ‘unfettered access to its nuke sites’ – which SHOULD beg the question: WHY? Answer: Iran's al-Quds, or group affiliated to al-Quds directly or indirectly working on compromising at least one ranking IAEA official.

Look out for one or more IAEA inspectors (acting independently or in combination with at least one other) to use IAEA inspections of one or more Iranian sites as 'drops'.

Expect copies of super-secret nuke 'working plans' (not by 'osmosis', meaning by criminal acts – memory sticks and/or hardcopies) find their way to Iranian sites opened up for inspection. Quds will inspect what the inspectors inspected – and will cut-out more years from the nuke-deployment cycle.

WARNING: Iran has every intention of building a ‘mini-me’ low earth orbital platform for ‘civilian purposes’ in part based on micro-electronic technology now found, for example, on ‘mini-me’ UAVs – technology now found in the public domain.

Footnote: nothing above derived from anything secret, just "As logic knows, as logic dictates, as logic does': DEFCON X signing out.

Anonymous said...

It is most reassuring to the budding politician that you have become an AM without knowing (or as a leftist, caring?) how to use an apostrophe (in your post title) or use, as you have, the word "ridiculous" instead of what you meant - ridiculousNESS of the claims...

When communicating, punctuation is your friend!

Glyn Davies said...

Robert - Your reaction is that of many people - which is why there should have been a General election months ago. I hope you will go out and challenge all of the candidates in your constituency during the campaign to make public commitments that satisfy you. Please don't just walk away and leave things stay as they are.

Anon - Fair point. Its a very difficult issue to address though. People like Welsh left will condemn any attempt to tackle this problem.

Anon 2 - 'ridiculous' was just a typo - but I do admit to missing the apostrophe on 'it's' quite often. I accept that it's incorrect, but the incorrect form is becoming common usage. I must try not to do it. So thanks.