Now who looks more prime ministerial?

What a clever move by Cameron to steal a march on Brown and bring in his own expenses reform. Your move, Gordon. The Prime Minister has the bigger problem. If the Chancellor, flipping Alistair Darling was ordered to pay back his second home allowance claims, it would be a serious blow to his prestige and authority.

Initially, Mr Darling claimed that 11 Downing Street – the Chancellor’s residence – was his “second home”. Under parliamentary rules, this meant that the only expenses he could claim were for groceries. He claimed £300 a month for food. Within a few months, he changed his “second home” again – this time, back to his Edinburgh home. He has since claimed about £1,200 a month in council tax and mortgage. Sir Philip Mawer, the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, told the Government in January, 2007, that it was unacceptable for ministers with grace-and-favour properties to continue claiming the second home allowance.

And what about Squirrel Nutkin?

Parliament by itself is too weak an institution to impose a solution – real power lies in government or party – and Cameron has used his available muscle, unlike Brown, who fumbled his chance by trying to pose as the Big Guy laying down the law for them all. Cameron’s slick move left Brown looking flat-footed and slow – as Harriet Harman was overshadowed, taking the clumsy bureaucratic route.

Harriet Harman, the leader of the Commons, said she was launching her own initiative to deal with excessive expenses claims. She said she had written to the cross-party Commons members’ allowances committee to ask it to consider whether any money had been paid out wrongly and to arrange for the setting up of a repayment system.

  • Dave

    Smart move from the nicer Dave. Rather than use the “thems the rules and I don’t make ’em just follow ’em” weaselling that others are using, he cut right to the core and delivered what the people want from a leader – doing the right thing, not what is written in the equivalent Boy Scout rulebook for politicians.
    Harmen, on the other hand, is simply inflaming the public even more my sticking to the line that these muppets did nothing wrong. She, and her government, look like moral tossers by saying ‘if any money was paid out wrongly’ (meaning not within the rules) when the public consider that it was paid out wrongly within the rules. She also looks weak when her action consists of merely writing letters and filling them with equivocations, while Cameron made unequivocal demands.

  • DC

    Yes Brian great leadership, 4 years too late. And an independent panel will be set up to adjudicate what shoud be paid back. Why? Is he, David Cameron, not able to say which claims himself. I know I can can you not?

    Remember with him and Gideon, sorry, George Osborne it’s all about judgement, good. Let’s see it then.

  • dewi

    “She also looks weak when her action consists of merely writing letters and filling them with equivocations, while Cameron made unequivocal demands”

    Yep “Hey you there – fill in that moat immediately, and you, you can pay for your own servants..”

    Seriously what he has done is influenced the narrative in a decisive fashion. The Tory grandees sleaze had less time in the spotlight due to Cameron’s actions.
    Technically he has also banned claiming for food. I understand most MPs do this to some degree and at a monthly max of £400 tax free at a marginal rate of 40% this could cost many MPs £10k a year in salary equivalent – some of the honest ones amongst them.

  • Driftwood

    David Cameron is a natural leader, Brown is hopelessly out of his depth and running fast out of time. Harriet Harman just doesn’t know when to stop digging.
    Cameron took immediate action when he found out about the scam, while Brown and Darling looked like rabbits in the headlights.
    Time for a general election and a new Conservative and Unionist UK government.

  • Dave

    Dewi, and your problem with wealthy MPs is…? Try picking any bum off the streets and putting him in charge of a multi-billion pound budgets and see where that gets you. And to see where that gets you, look at the British government.

    What Cameron did was refuse to hide behind the muppets line of “we did no wrong because it was within the rules.’ It may be within the rules, but it is still wrong. That’s the critical difference. He has scored a huge win with the public there for making that distinction, just as the public have made it. He now has the moral authority whereas the British government does not.

  • DC

    Dave there is no moral authority with this one really, other than parties having to save themselves not from each other but the BNP types who are rising high up off the heat of public outrage.

    To counter can only be done by admitting exploitative behaviour and a few party political heads rolling, as if they admit exploiting the system only then can they level the charge at the BNP for being even more exploitative. Many examples abound over racial insecurities and exploiting fixed immutable characterisitcs of certain British people and looking for a way in in socially deprived areas. Areas where people have no second homes or swimming pools.

    Failing this, the BNP are laughing even though in terms of exploiting people they are the complete masters. I reckon then if they had the chance they would be in the frame of mind to exploit expenses and allowances to the max.

  • alan56

    Problem is that the politicians just don’t get it. It’s easy to say that you will pay back the money, (even though you broke no rules) but the point is that in the public eye you were ‘on the make’ and only did something about it when you were caught. That is not contrition, it is just public gesturing because you were exposed.
    Our local poloticos need to ‘cotton on’ pretty sharpish to the public mood and realise that a family earning over £600,000 from the public purse, or paying annual rent for one day’s usage of a London apartment is just not going to wash.They need to get real, and say sorry…. but mean it.

  • loki

    Haven’t heard any of our locals ‘fessing up. Fair play to Cameron. He has shown leaderhip and played a poor hand rather well

  • alan56

    Driftwood

    You really are in very positive mood tonight.
    Mabe you are right and Conservatives are going to come out of this looking better but the damage done to the political establishment in the public eye will not be so easily cleared. You might be surprised to find that many people wil follow Tebbit’s idea and show their disdain at the election. Locally it will not help the UU/tory attempt to get the non-voters to come out and support them.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Time for a general election and a new Conservative and Unionist UK government.

    There will never be a “Conservative and Unionist” government.

  • Driftwood

    Comrade Stalin

    David Cameron thinks there will…

    But I could be wrong and Labour will magically emerge from all this as victors.

  • dewi

    “Dewi, and your problem with wealthy MPs is”

    I dunno Dave – I just got summat against paying for rich fat Tory twats to clean their moats and have housekeepers…do you think I need counselling to overcome my prejudice?

  • DC

    Seeing as Gordon Brown is from a man of the cloth, he perhaps should say: David, remove the moat from your own eye before taking the speck out of mine. Mote/moat geddit 😉

  • Dave

    DC, morality is not the same thing as moral authority. You can’t govern without moral authority.

    Dewi, you are confusing corruption with wealth.

  • Great Site. Hope you can improve it again! May be you are right and Conservatives are going to come out of this looking better but the damage done to the political establishment in the public eye will not be so easily cleared. You might be surprised to find that many people Jasmin Wilson@Fashion and Vintage wil follow Tebbit’s idea and show their disdain at the election.