Thursday, January 15, 2009

A good day to bury the pork barrel

Author's Note: I am not the Devil's Kitchen. Cross-posted from Mr Eugenides.

Misdirection, they call it. While you're watching the magic wand, or Ronaldo's feet windmilling around like Michael Flatley on speed, you're distracted from the real business at hand.

And so it is today. While all this Heathrow shit goes on, and the moronic John McDonnell channels the spirit of Ron Brown, MPs are quietly refilling the gravy boat:

Remember the clampdown on MPs expenses which was promised after it emerged Derek Conway was paying his sons to work for him? Full transparency and an end to the John Lewis list? Well a year later, and on a busy newsday, Harriet Harman has announced the watering down almost all the restrictions.

According to a document unveiled with no fanfare on the same day as the Heathrow announcement, the House is preparing to block the publication of all receipts for MPs expenses, which had been ordered by an Information Tribunal.

See the results

And in order to prevent us from seeing receipts for what they buy, the Freedom of Information Act must be altered - for precisely which purpose the egregious Jack Straw has today laid a Statutory Instrument before the Commons.

There's been a bit of sniggering in the last day or so about some of the expenses claims submitted by Scottish MSPs, details of which have just been published by Holyrood. But the wider point is, surely, that at least in Scotland we have the right to see what our elected representatives think they can send us the bill for - potted plants, Christmas cards, a sat-nav - and the very publication of these frivolous and, in some cases, downright fraudulent claims makes it less likely that such abuses will recur in the future. Westminster is determined that no such light will be shone on the dark recesses of their expenses system.

Let's make this clear; if you are furnishing your home with my money, then I demand to know how much is being spent on what. This is not a burdensome requirement; it is the basic fucking minimum I am entitled to expect. No agent of the gigantic state apparatus that these people have constructed to empty my pockets would accept my airy assurances in place of a receipt, so why should we accept it of them?

Do go and read Sam Coates' rundown of the myriad ways in which the good times will continue to roll, and - particularly if you have a blog - please don't let this story die.

They will get away with this for precisely as long as we let them.


Anonymous said...

Only way round MPs' porkiness and general lying about their expenses is to provide them with:

1. one furnished flat (2 bed) near Westminster for a constituency more than 20 miles away

2. one return travel ticket per week

3. one secretary full time

4. suitable post/phone/internet access


Jon said...

No no, Budgie, all you need is:

1. 4 metres (approx.) of piano wire

2. Handy projection, capable of bearing, say, 200 kg, and at least 2.5 metres up. A lamppost would be ideal, but am I mistaken in thinking that fewer and fewer suitable lampposts are to be seen? Is there some secret plan to phase them out? Is Common Purpose involved? We should be told.

Old BE said...

Is there a word for feeling sick and angry simultaneously?

Anonymous said...

Thieving lot of bastards.

Anonymous said...

That poison dwarf Blears will be along in a minute, wondering why no-one has any respect for politicians any more.

As said above, theiving, corrupt parasites.

Anonymous said...

Lord Levy, who the fuck is this cunt? get off my telly you kiddy fiddle looking prick and keep your 'I give a fuck bullshit' to yerself, you runined This week, you remind me of the fat wanker in 'V for Vendetta' with yer fancy Black+white TV slot. Fuck Off and die CUNT.

Anonymous said...

There are those who say that Geoff Hoon is a cunt, and who could disagree. But, let us remember that Jack Straw was a cunt while Hoon was still shitting his pants.

Anonymous said...

Even the BBC is reporting this, so this story will not disappear immediately.

Scum, scum, scum!

Letters From A Tory said...

I sent a letter to Harriet Harman on my blog this morning, making my feelings on the matter perfectly clear.

The fact that she has the nerve to tell us that she is improving the system by blacking out MP expenses claims is just staggering.

Earthlet Nigel said...

I'll wager the ginger minger likes burying pork. Spit or swallow

Roger Thornhill said...

Aethelred: "But, let us remember that Jack Straw was a cunt while Hoon was still shitting his pants."

What, last week? People pay good money for that, you know.

Dr Evil said...

They are lying, two faced bastards, the lot of them. Jack slime has changed the law so that we cannot see where public money is being spent. Slip it out on a busy news day when the Heathrow nonsense get the headlines. Typical of this bunch of low life bastards.

Shug Niggurath said...

Tried to access the lpuk site earlier, that site (and this) timed out.

Drunk now.

Could LPUK organise a draft letter for anyone to send to their MP's about this (copies to Harman, Martin, Brown and media) - spouting on blogs is all well and good but it's time to get organised against these thieves - of all colours.

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