Where do I stand on ‘the great expenses scam’?
Well I am absolutely disgusted that conservative MEPs should take even half of the EU expenses on offer, never mind do things like channel them via a family company – not that I even pretend to know the significance of this.
Its easy to see now why so many Conservatives (not to mention of course droves of Socialists and LibDms) are so friendly to the EU – its a nice little earner. The EU we can surmise is more than happy to oblige its parliamentarians their little quid pro quos. The EU parliament is a fig leaf of democracy for this notoriously totalitarian body and it suits it to draw MEPs into its deceit. Lets not forget that the EU actually pays lobbyist to lobby itself to formulate the policies both the EU and the lobby groups want. (The public? We are just inconvenient bystanders)
The furore of comment on and investigation into MPs expenses, set off by the Derek Conway scandal, is not much different, but here again the system seems to have encouraged the payments in lieu of proper pay increases. Its unlikely that Conway received anything serious in the way of research in return for paying his sons ,then again these payments do not guarantee quality. The exposure of Conway though opened up a whole can of worms and quite frankly it reaches right to the top, not least Brown, Blair and various members of the government, and indeed he (labour Speaker and his wife). I am not surprised. But if these payments are ‘within the rules’ then the current mini frenzy over the BBC and its claims over Caroline Spelman seems wholly bogus. A relatively short term affair over 10 years ago surrounding a new MP, young mother and no proper working constituency office – well it has the elements of a Brian Rix Whitehall farce not a Guido Fawkes one, and the media really ought to treat it as such.
We have too many MPs with too little worthwhile to do, and we probably pay them too little, we have certainly seen their pay messed around with for political reasons too often. I do not like the nonsense which has been going on over expenses, but the real corruption has been taking place elsewhere. Loans for Peerages, donations for Peerages, secret donations, self serving donations. All of which remember is taking place within a system that has honed to a fine art the idea of pushing agendas, moulding opinion via Reports and Commissions headed by pliable notaries who invariably happen ascend to some nice little sinecure.
I would like to see fewer MPs with clear responsibilities and some independent well funded clerical and research support. Despite fewer MPs I think this will inevitably cost more. I am not sure it will make us better governed either. I hope the headline grabbers are happy.