More expense bullshit

May 12th, 2009 § 2 comments § permalink

Everyone pretty much accepts that MP should have expenses, but those expenses should be for stuff needed for the duties of an MP.

What the cunting fuck are these shower of shits doing claiming for swimming pools, piano tuning, stables, moat cleaning (a fucking moat, for christ sake!), chandelier hanging and home improvement by the addition of a portico.

In an example of how seriously these wankers take the system, Micheal Spicer…

submitted a detailed invoice which included “hedge cutting … helipad”, although he claimed last night that the “helipad” was a “family joke”.

What sort of cunt jokes on expenses claims? What sort organisation doesn’t question it?

And then there’s Stewart Jackson…

claimed more than £300 for work on a swimming pool, and hundreds more for work to a “summer room”. Last night he agreed to repay the money claimed for the swimming pool.

In a lengthy statement he said in his defence Jackson said :”The pool came with the house and I needed to know how to run it.

“Once I was shown that one time, there were no more claims. I take care of the pool myself. I believe this represents ‘value for money’ for the taxpayer, as required by the Green Book [the Commons rulebook on claiming expenses.

He may have needed to know how to run the pool, but why should the fucking taxpayer pay for some cunt to tell him? Is it going to make him work harder or better? It might be better value to pay someone to show Jackson how to look after the pool rather than pay for an engineer to come out whenever something needs doing, but what value is it adding to his performance as an MP? Fucking none. A swimming pool is not needed to do an MP’s job.

The expenses should be for stuff that an MP needs.

  • If they’ve got a home in their constituency and one in london then they shouldn’t be allowed to claim a second home allowance, as they already have a second home and would be paying the bills and stuff on it anyway
  • If they don’t have a second home already, they should be able to either claim, upto a certain amount, enough for say a two bed flat, either rent or mortgage interest.
  • If a flat is bought/rented, then a contribution, not a full reimbursement, towards furniture would be allowed. The definition of furniture being tables, chairs, a cooker, fridge, bed, curtains and that type of thing. Stuff that makes a building livable. Not vases and pictures and items that make a home homely.
  • There needs to be some way of closing down the loophole that enables ‘flipping’, the swapping of second home designations between homes at a drop of a hat. Maybe the definition needs to be changed to the first home being where the MPs’ spouse/partner & children (if any) are based, and for single MP’s some other definition that rules out flipping.
  • Food expenses either to be cut severely or to be done away with completely. £400 a month for food shopping is ridiculous. A family of 4 lives very nicely on that.

My preferred choice of solution would be for the government to buy a stock of flats and let the MPs’ use them. To keep the ‘small state’ people happy, the government could lease some from a private company (based in some tax haven, of course) under a PFI project.

Nobody can reasonably expect an MP, who because of the very nature of the job has to live in two places, not to have expenses, but when MP’s abuse the rule and expect the taxpayer to pay for stuff that is not related to the job, from cleaning out moats (a moat, FFS!) to babies nappies, then the rules need to be tightened and their receipts scrutinised even closer.

‘The honourable member’ indeed, ffs.
And no, it’s not a party thing.

“claims for parliamentary allowances are in line with the rules, and have been approved by the House of Commons authorities – the Fees Office”

May 8th, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink

MPs’ expenses.
To paraphrase Frank Skinner

You’re only sorry and think the system needs reforming because you got found out.

But looking at the responses, the one in the title seems to be the one they’ve all decided to run with, but it still sticks in the throat.

Integrity and honesty

April 14th, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink

There’s calls for the Code of Conduct for Special Advisors to be tightened. Here is an excerpt (my emphasis)…

5. Special advisers should conduct themselves with integrity and honesty. They should not deceive or knowingly mislead Parliament or the public. They should not misuse their official position or information acquired in the course of their official duties to further their private interests or the private interests of others. They should not receive benefits of any kind which others might reasonably see as compromising their personal judgement or integrity. They should not without authority disclose official information which has been communicated in confidence in Government or received in confidence from others. The principles of public life set down by the Committee on Standards in Public Life, at Annex B, provide a framework for all public servants.

Seems clear enough to me.

Same shit different day

April 13th, 2009 § 2 comments § permalink

So. We’ve got one bunch of cunts making up shit about another bunch of cunts.

I have had a ticking off for tarring everyone in one group of public servants with the same, but I’m gonna do it again here.

Our politicians are all the same. There is no difference between them*. Is it that you need to be a cunt to rise to the top of the tree or does the system turn once good and honest people into complete wankers?

This latest debacle between McBride and Draper is just the latest in a long line of fuck ups that are unacceptable. And I’ll bet that it could just as easily have been a Conservative plot to fuck the opposite team as the Labour one that’s come to light.

I don’t know the details of the email, or much details about it at all. To be frank, I couldn’t give two shits either. All I know is that there was an email from Labour MPs’ containing lies about Conservative MPs’.

What sort of shitheads must we have running the country, if they think it is ok to do this? Think about it. These guys aren’t your drunk down the local spouting whatever comes into their head. It’s not 7 year old shouting to about someone ‘having the lurgy’ not realising what they’re doing. They are supposedly grown up, responsible people that are supposed to know right from wrong.

These. People. Tell. Lies.

The whole fucking thing is shagged. They’re only sorry when they get caught at something like this and when they do it’s a passed of as a joke or a misunderstanding or not very sensitively worded.
Are we fucking stupid? Do we look like cunts? Have we got ‘TWAT’ written on our collective foreheads?
That’s what it feels like, sometimes.

Dunno about you, but I’m fucking sick of it.

*There are a couple of exceptions, but I’ll let you decide who they are.

Twisted logic

March 31st, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink

Rhetorically Speaking

There’s something about the lede of this story that makes me deeply proud to be British:

Members will this week be shown copies of thousands of receipts and other documents due to be published under the Freedom of Information Act. They will be invited to redact the documents, blacking out information they do not want to disclose.

Other countries have corruption. Other countries have censorship. But we, the British, have a free media which reports that – in the coming weeks – our elected officials will finally be forced to release details of their expenses after a lengthy legal battle, but not before those politicians have been invited to censor their own records.

Ensuring the right result

March 12th, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink

Timothy Garton Ash (CiF) [my emphasis]…

So, here’s the charge sheet in shorthand summary: American-authorised torture; British complicity; an American-British attempt to withhold evidence; and now the predictable temptation to cover up.

Last October, all the papers from the court hearings, open and closed, were given by the home secretary to the attorney general. If she thinks there might be a case for criminal prosecution against Witness B, or anyone else, she must either start a criminal investigation herself or hand it over to the director of public prosecutions. More than four months later, nothing has happened. Why? Well, perhaps she has just been busy. But there remains, in the British system, this latent conflict of interest which the high court summarises thus: “the Attorney General is a Minister of the Crown and thus a member of the Executive branch of the state whose officials are alleged to have facilitated cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or torture“.

A comment of Justins’ applies equally well here, I think…

They’re going to get away with this, aren’t they?

Come one, come all

February 27th, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink

The Croydonian spotted someting in the Lords Hansard that could be filed under ‘Whoa! I wouldn’t have said that’…

“Baroness Warsi: To ask Her Majesty’s Government which religions and faiths are officially recognised by the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

The Lord President of the Council (Baroness Royall of Blaisdon): The Equality and Human Rights Commission recognises all religions and faiths“.

Hmm. Let us say that I decide to subscribe to the First Presleytarian Church of Elvis the Divine or define myself as a Jedi Knight, should I then be able to avail myself of the full panoply of protections etc under equality law? Equally well, should the same apply to any ethical / moral system that I cook up which owes nothing to the divine?

As he says, an answer like that leaves you open to a whole world of trouble.

The right thing for the wrong reasons

January 21st, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink

Just as I’m posting about MPs’ plans to exempt their expenses from the Freedom of Information Act, this comes through…

The Guardian:

Gordon Brown made a dramatic retreat from plans to exempt MPs’ expenses from the Freedom of Information Act.

The surprise announcement made during prime ministers questions follows the collapse overnight of a bipartisan agreement between Brown and David Cameron, the Tory leader, to back a parliamentary order exempting MPs’ expenses from the act. The move came after he was challenged by Tory backbencher Douglas Carswell over why he was in favour of keeping them secret.

Fucking good. It’s good that it’s been, how can I put it…? Ah, postponed. But it’s not a victory for Teh Good, because look at that. The two leaders had an agreement.

Brown told MPs: “We thought we had agreement on the Freedom of Information Act as part of this wider package,” he said. “Recently that support that we believed we had from the main opposition party was withdrawn. So on this particular matter, I believe all-party support is important and…

Translation: ‘We had a pact, but something upset them conservative buggers and I’m not gonna do anything silly unless it makes us all look shit.’

we will continue to consult on that matter.”

See? Postponed.

The PM said proposals for reforms of MPs’ expenses would provide “more transparency” than in most other parliaments around the world.

This is the bit that really flumoxes me. I’m not sure what the rest of the reforms are but surely, making expenses exempt from FoI enquiries does exactly the opposite. Shit, I was forgettin’. Enclosing something in quotes makes it the make the words mean the opposite.
Jesus, these politicians are “really clever”, aren’t they?

Cameron made a late decision to order his MPs to oppose the move after learning from Alan Duncan, the shadow leader of the Commons, that Labour MPs were being whipped to back it. But Cameron’s action in turn became the catalyst for Brown’s U-turn. It left Labour, despite the chance of winning a three line whip vote, in danger of being isolated and blamed for imposing secrecy on MPs’ expenses, which is very unpopular with the electorate.

That means that Cameron was fine with the obfuscation of their expenses as long as no-one is coersed into approving the law (or whatever the fuck it is). If people do something of their own free will, they’re less likely to break away, and in this situation that means leaks. Really. Fucking. Embaressing. Leaks.
And that fucker Brown? Yes, the move is unpopular. Wonder fucking why? It’s ok to impose secrecy and be unpopular as long as it’s not just Labour that are hated. Even more. As long as politicians as whole are reviled and hated, it doesn’t matter does it.

That’s enough it’s winding me up too much, I’m just starting to swear uncontrollably.
Cunts, the fucking lot of them.

Bring on the Revolution.

Hiding MPs’ expenses

January 21st, 2009 § 1 comment § permalink

A heads-up from Justin on something MPs’ want to keep to themselves:

Unlock Democracy:

On Thursday, the Government sneaked out the draft of the innocuous sounding “Freedom of Information (Parliament) Order.” This “statutory instrument” (not an act), if passed, will

“…change the scope of the application of the [Freedom of Information] Act in relation to information held by the House of Commons and House of Lords regarding expenditure in respect of Members of both Houses. This includes information held by either House about expenses claimed by and allowances paid to Members. Such information is no longer within the scope of the Act.”

In short, they intend to exempt the expenses of MPs and Lords from the Freedom of Information Act and thereby close them to public scrutiny. This is to be passed almost a year to the day after the Derek Conway scandal erupted, when it emerged that the MP had been paying his sons as research staff while they were at university, despite not being able to demonstrate that they had actually done any work for him. If the Government gets away with this, scandals such as this will be allowed to continue and we will not be permitted to find out about them.

It is completely outrageous that the Government should seek to do this at all, let alone in such an underhand manner. The Government is planning to put us all on a national identity database, force us to carry identity cards, keep the DNA of millions of innocent people on a database and to read all our emails, phone and internet records regardless of whether we are supposed to have done anything wrong. Their argument is always “if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.” Why, then, is it one rule for us and another rule for politicians?

What’s more, when Gordon Brown became Prime Minister, one of his first acts was to publish the Governance of Britain Green Paper which asserted that “It is right that Parliament should be covered by the [Freedom of Information] Act.”

This proposal is going to be debated in the House of Commons this Thursday – we don’t have much time. For this reason I am strongly urging you to do the following as a matter of urgency:

  • Write to your MP (use and urge them “to sign the Early Day Motion “Freedom of Information (Parliament) Order 2009 (Jo Swinson MP)” – the text of this motion is below for your reference.
  • Phone your MP’s office (the main switchboard is 020 7219 3000) and ask to talk to him or her to ask them to oppose this proposal.
  • If you are on Facebook, join our group and invite all your friends to join – ESPECIALLY the ones not normally interested in politics.
  • Forward this article to everyone you know either by email or any social bookmarking websites you use.

Please, please do this as soon as you can. We can defeat this proposal if we put pressure on MPs this week. In 2007, a group of backbench MPs attempted to get a similar proposal passed. We beat them then and we can beat them again.

With best wishes,

Peter Facey
Director, Unlock Democracy


Freedom of Information (Parliament) Order 2009
Primary Sponsor: Jo Swinson (LD, East Dunbartonshire)

That this House notes with concern the provisions in the Freedom of Information (Parliament) Order 2009 to exempt remove the expenses of Members of Parliament and Peers from the scope of the Freedom of Information Act’; notes that this order will single out MPs and Peers in a special category as the only paid public officials who will note have to disclose full details of their expenses; notes with concern the regressive effect of this Order on Parliamentary transparency and the detrimental impact it will have on Parliament in the eyes of the public; calls on Ministers to block or repeal the Order in the interest of MPs’ and Peers’ accountability to members of the public.

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