Guido never said all politicians are greasy-pole climbing, self interested scoundrels.
Your humble Devil, of ourse, has, and on a number of occasions. Methinks that Guido is too kind...
He does however have a suspicious mind and this is basically his default view until proven otherwise. It takes a certain kind of egoism to want to be a politician. The louder they claim it is because they "want to make a difference", the tighter you should grip your wallet.
And Guido illustrates the petty ways in which this is true with his Sunday sleaze round-up. All of the stories are worth perusing, but the one that really grips my shit is the story about the Wintertons.
A husband-and-wife MP couple have defended their use of Commons expenses for a London flat, even though they paid off the mortgage six years ago.
Tories Sir Nicholas and Ann Winterton transferred their second home to a trust, to which they said they paid rent of £21,600 per year.
This is absolutely outrageous. Let me spell out the implications of this fucking corruption.
- Because they had paid off the mortgage on this residence, the Wintertons would no longer have been able to claim the second homes allowance.
- So, what they have done is to put the residence into a Trust. This helps to dodge Inheritance Tax. As you know, i have no particular problem with this per se.
- They now claim to be renting the flat from the Trust, which means that they can continue to claim the second home allowance: this roughly equates to £21,600 per annum in their case.
- This £21,600 per annum is being paid into the Trust which will benefit their children.
- In other words, the taxpayer is subsidising the Wintertons' childrens' inheritance to the tune of £21,600 a year.
I cannot be the only one that thinks that this is absolutely beyond the fucking pale, can I?
I would like to clarify the fact that I have no problem with people putting things in trust for their children, and nor do I have a problem with people attempting to avoid Inheritance Tax.
I do have a fucking problem with MPs deliberately putting a residence into trust so that they can continue to claim our money when they would not otherwise have been able to do so: further, i have a severe problem with that money going to line the Winterton family pockets.
Yes, technically, they were perfectly at liberty to come to such an arrangement. But since when did we expect politicians to obey only the letter of the law? Could this pair of arseholes not see that what they were doing was in some way wrong?
Whilst what they are doing is technically legal, any fucking idiot can see that it is distinctly dodgy from a moral standpoint. And... just... fuck it, I object! This is snouts in the trough in the worst and most cynical way.
The couple said they had agreed the arrangement with the Commons Fees Office at the time it was set up.
In that case, the only conclusion seems to be that the Commons Fees Office is as corrupt and amoral, and blessed with the same total lack of regard for public money, as the Wintertons themselves.
This is an absolutely disgusting abuse of the expenses system: this money isn't yours by right, you fucking hideous pair of cunts; it's our fucking money. You did not need those expenses and you should not have claimed them. We allow MPs to claim expenses—the lord only knows why—in order to try to make your lives easier and you go and deliberately abuse it in order to enrich your family.
You fucking stink. But not as much as when your dismembered bodies are hanging from gibbets outside the Tower, the ravens feasting on your rancid flesh, you hideous, dishonest cunts.
UPDATE: Iain Dale has published the Wintertons' full statement.
We would like to respond briefly to the articles in the Mail on Sunday and other media covering the flat we use in London. Like any other employment which requires people to work away from home, living expenses can be reclaimed from Parliament up to a prescribed limit. In the late 1990s, we took advice from our solicitor and accountants about our likely inheritance tax liability, as so many families do. As a result of the advice given to us, we paid off the mortgage on the flat with the proceeds of a small legacy and an insurance policy which had just matured.
We were further advised to put the flat into a Trust for which there are three Trustees (our solicitor and ourselves) who administer the Trust on behalf of the beneficiaries. We no longer own the flat and in order to meet the objectives and terms of the Trust, we are obliged to pay the full market rent which is recommended by an independent valuer/estate agent. The current rent is not £30,000 per annum as stated in the press articles but is in fact £21,600 per annum.
Before we proceeded, the arrangement was agreed by the Fees Office and we clearly would not have gone ahead unless this had been the case. If we did not use our present accommodation, we would have to rent or buy other accommodation (for which legitimate expenses could be claimed as now) and there is, therefore, no additional cost to the taxpayer from the present arrangement.
More often than not we travel together by car off peak saving both on mileage allowance and very substantially on the high cost of rail travel. It is also a fact that we are both in the lowest quartile as far as Parliamentary expenses are concerned and we seek to use the allowances available as prudently and responsibly as possible.
So, basically their statement is: "if you don't let us continue enriching ourselves and our children at your expense, then we'll just find another way to do it."
What I object to is that the second home allowance has been used to permanently enrich the Wintertons. We have effectively paid the mortgage on a flat that they then get to keep: how can that be right?
I have no problem with them buying a house with their salaries, but I do have a problem with them using expenses to do so.
I know that this may seem churlish but it just doesn't seem like cricket, somehow.