Sunday, May 10, 2009

Kerry McCarthy on expenses

Much as I dislike her politics, I have, occasionally, had a sensible conversation with Kerry McCarthy; further, I do have some respect for blogging MPs—call it a sentimental attachment to a "community of bloggers".

As such, I feel that I should flag up Kerry's post on expenses, and how she deals with hers. It seems that she may, in fact, be one of the honest ones.
I've always tried to work on the basis of 'would I be buying this if I had to pay for it myself?' Although in the early days I didn't actually realise we could claim for furniture, so when I kitted out my second home in London from Habitat (mostly, apart from a few item from the Purves and Purves sale), I did it on the assumption I'd be paying off the credit card bill for some months to come.

No doubt we shall find out when her expenses are published but, nevertheless, Ms McCarthy does at least seem to approach the issue with the right attitude.
Anyway... that's a probably futile attempt to go with my other futile attempts to explain the system and why we are where we are. It's not intended to justify what you've been reading about over the past few days, and I agree with those who have expressed their anger at MPs sticking to the mantra 'it was within the rules'. It's not good enough.

As I've said, the rules have changed and further change is needed. I don't have the solution. I don't think anyone does at this stage. But if we have to wear hairshirts for a while, or from now onwards, then so be it. Frankly, we - collectively speaking - deserve it.

So, kudos to Kerry McCarthy: she is, at least, making an effort to explain herself (although, quite sensibly, she does not comment on her colleagues).

Now, back to attacking her politics...

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm afraid that 'honest' is setting the bar a little low for my tastes.

Can we try for honest and competent?

Sorry for spoiling Kerry's moment of specialnesspreatte

Angry Exile said...

Kate Hoey looks like she might be another one.

Dick Puddlecote said...

Now, back to attacking her politics... which are gutter Labour 80s student righteous greed envy.

Apart from that and her hate of those who wish to live life differently to her, she's OK I suppose.

John Demetriou said...

I think it's good that you have written a fair, balanced and reasoned piece like this, DK.

All too often it's tempting to rip into all politicians regardless, but this demonstrates a sincere committment to your cause.

Good shout that man.

regards

JD

The Facepalm said...

Fantastic blog! Absolutely genial! Keep going on!

http://thefacepalm.blogspot.com/

Roger Thornhill said...

"I've always tried to work on the basis of 'would I be buying this if I had to pay for it myself?' Although in the early days I didn't actually realise we could claim for furniture, so when I kitted out my second home in London from Habitat (mostly, apart from a few item from the Purves and Purves sale), I did it on the assumption I'd be paying off the credit card bill for some months to come."Still not good enough IMHO. She does not face up to if she SHOULD have claimed or not, just to the type or cost. Ok, so her claiming a 40" plasma is not right but a 32" Sony LCD is ok? No. Kerry has conceded something to appear honest and I am not buying that concept. What happens to items? Do they end up at her private home or not? Are they later returned for cash? Who knows.

The true test is if the actual things expensed were necessary, not just the extravagance.

Anonymous said...

If we accept the premise that we are going to pay for an MP's second home, it follows that we are going to pay to furnish it with "the basics". Hence the infamous John Lewis list etc.

(Paying for and furnishing a flat in London is still likely to end up cheaper than paying an MP's hotel bills.)

Judging by electronics stores, a 32" LCD seems like a normal living room TV.

I will give you an anecdote: whilst working for a previous employer, I was asked to spend an extended period of time in a foreign country. The employer paid for the rent of a flat in that country, and for its utility bills. It also paid to rent furniture. Furniture rental is expensive, and I pointed out to the employer that he would save a not insignificant sum if, instead of paying to rent furniture every month, he would pay for me go to Ikea on day 1 and buy furniture.

This was not permitted. As a consequence, $EMPLOYER spent considerably more renting furniture for me.