THE Commons Speaker, Michael Martin, is said to have delivered an extraordinary outburst against his critics who are demanding reform of parliamentary pay and expenses.
Martin, a former sheet metal worker and shop steward, allegedly told a senior MP: “I have been a trade unionist all my life. I did not come into politics not to take what is owed to me.”
I see. I'd be happy to deliver what is owed to you, you corrupt little bastard: for bringing Her Majesty's government into ill-repute, I think that what you are owed is a good, public hanging.
The Speaker has so far refused to speak in public about the expenses scandal. However, the MP said Martin made his revealing outburst when he challenged him to take a more active role in reforming the lax allowances regime. “He saw his role simply as a shop steward defending MPs’ Spanish practices,” said the MP.
Your humble Devil has covered Martin's own filthy troughing a number of times; the man is most certainly out for all he can get and he certainly isn't about to stop now.
Pressure is growing on Martin, 63, to confirm that he will retire after the general election, expected to be held next year. Some MPs are concerned that far from preparing to leave the £141,866-a-year job, Martin wants to continue in office indefinitely.
One MP warned that there may be a bid to unseat Martin in the autumn. “We handed him the bottle of whisky and the revolver, but he appears to have thrown away the gun and drunk the whisky,” the MP said.
It is understood that the Speaker will be exempt from moves to clamp down on MPs with grace and favour homes who also claim the second home allowance.
Well, what a fucking surprise. This man has got to go.
And, meanwhile, The Sunday Times leader looks at what MPs actually earn.
What do MPs really “earn”? They receive a salary of £64,766 and members of the government (of which there are about 100) get between £90,000 and £194,000. There is then the additional costs allowance, which is tax-free and worth £24,006. There is the staffing allowance of £100,205. There is the incidental expenses provision of up to £22,913. MPs also get reimbursed for all travel to and from their constituencies.
When kicked out by the voters they get a lump sum of up to £40,000 and a redundancy payment of between £32,000 and £65,000. They can also look forward to a generous final salary pension, which is increasingly rare in the private sector. These sums add up.
As my peripatetic Greek friend comments...
Spending a couple of decades representing a rotten borough in the West of Scotland is a party sinecure, and seen quite explicitly as a reward for services rendered to Labour; and if there is one thing these rapacious dullards can wrap their testicle-sized brains around, it is the logistics of how to line their pockets. When, in addition, they have - like Speaker Martin - been trade unionists all their life, it is perhaps no surprise that they take to these "Spanish practices" with relish and aplomb. Being paid to sit around on leather sofas all day dreaming up new ways to skim money off the top? It must sound rather like a busman's holiday.
As for those who enter Parliament honest - whatever proportion that may be - many of them plainly leave it both corrupted and enriched at our expense. The apologists, of which there are a depressingly but not surprisingly large number (Michael White's knighthood by now must be a mere formality), might pause to reflect that if any ordinary person had indulged in the sort of sustained and deliberate fraud that these people have knowingly perpetrated upon their employers - us - they would, as we speak, be sitting on the pavement outside their offices with a cardboard box and a quart of whisky, and quite possibly be facing prosecution.
But, as he says, not these cunts.
Hang them: hang them all.