Parliament must be saved from itself

A magisterial verdict on the MPs’ expenses scandal is delivered from leading political scientist Vernon Bogdanor ( who it so happens, was David Cameron’s politics tutor but is not parti pris). Mr Brown, “is not to blame for the greed – the person responsible for filling more boots than Imelda Marcos is Margaret Thatcher”, says a former MP with a long memory.

The cost of furniture, gardening, swimming pools and horse manure should be paid by MPs from their salaries. This would mean, until Sir Christopher Kelly reports, a fall in the standard of living of many MPs.

Whatever the precise mechanism, it is essential that members of the public are now involved in the determination of MPs’ pay and allowances. Only through radical reform will we be able to ensure that our political system does not undergo the degradation that destroyed the Fourth Republic in France in 1958. Britain, it was once said, can never be ruined but by her Parliament. It is now for the public to play their part in saving Parliament from itself
It is now for MPs to decide it is time for Speaker Martin to be handed a revolver and a bottle of whisky..

  • Its about time too. Just try to get your moat deducted from your tax return. Maybe it will encourage polititians who want to make the country better as opposed to money, power, prestige and perks.

  • Pigeon Toes

    “Maybe it will encourage polititians who want to make the country better”

    Do you believe in Santa Claus too?

  • Someone has already mentioned Santa Clause and if anyone believes Christopher Kelly’s committee will help resolve this matter they must believe in fairies, Kelly and his ridiculous committee is a creature of Gordon Brown and before him Blair, etc.

    For christ sake what has the Committee on Standards in Public Life been doing over the last 20 odd years whilst parliamentary standards fell through the floor? Answers on a postage stamp.

    read more here,

  • blinding

    These self same politicians voted to send young men and women to war.

    To kill or to be killed.
    To maime or to be maimed.

    I for one do not consider these politicians the kind of people that should be deciding if a country goes to war.

  • Duncan Shipley Dalton

    I think a lot of MP have lost the plot. In the UK around 87% of all earners get less than 30,000 a year, that is less than half the salary of an MP. The vast majority of the country live on incomes well below that of an MP. Now its become clear that having been thwarted by public opinion in their desire to raise their own salary they have featherbedded their incomes through the backdoor by way of expenses. The entire political class is being severly damaged by this affair and a real and serious attempt will need to be made to claw back public respect. I think that many MP’s are going to have to face a future of much lower incomes. If that puts you off being an MP then fine go do something more financially rewarding. Alternatively how about you recognise that being in an interesting intellectually challenging job that pays you more than 87% of the rest of society can enjoy you should be very grateful. Most people get to live a grinding reality of job they don’t much like to pay the bills and survive I think our honourable members have lost touch with that harsh reality of life.

  • Rory Carr

    Indeed, Blinding. Furthermore they have implemented legislation by which if the poorest and most miserable in the land had applied their standards of duplicity and double claiming in applying for the emergency pittances available for essentials such as clothing, cooking appliances and furniture (and then only of the most basic type)they would be likely to be prosecuted and even gaoled.

    Given the excuses that have been put forward in the last few days it can now only be a matter of time before some smartass Yankee lawyer picks up on it and post-humous appeals are lodged on behalf of those former political activists, Pretty Boy Floyd and John Dillinger claiming that “it was all a mistake. An error in accounting” and no doubt insisting that their heirs will pay the money back as soon as the banks are open (and they dig up and oil the Tommy-guns).

    Repayment apparently would entail “…a fall in the living standard of many [MP’s]”. Well, hooray! And slap it up them and welcome to the world of falling living standards. More’s the pity, we might think that it won’t affect the rich fiddlers like gardening enthusiast and pretty boy Alan Duncan and (the less than pretty) Francis Maude who felt the need for a second home only yards from his existing opulent London town house. Oh how we all yearn for a home-from-home from time to time – but one just down the road?

    It is no wonder that these self serving rogues were content to sit by and watch idly as property prices in London spiralled out of the reach of all but those with parents able and willing to cough up deposits and with incomes much higher than the average when they themselves could continue to invest in properties of ever increasing value at public expense and ‘flip’ them tax-free for private gain. I should not be surprised if in the downturn they had also planned to reclaim losses on any property they were obliged to ‘flip’ at less than the purchase price. At least not now they won’t. Surely they wouldn’t dare. Would they….?

  • dewi

    IT;s that moat that gets me Rory.
    I pay my hard earned (well, on a good day) taxes so that a rich, fat Tory twat can clean his moat. What an unbelievable life.

  • Rory Carr

    At least, Dewi, we can now understand why they feel the need for a moat – to protect themselves from an angry populace out to drag them to the gibbet. Which is the most fitting place for them, I say.

    The rich ones are in politics to protect and extend their personal wealth and the ones not yet rich are there in the hope that they can use the system to join the ranks of the rich. These fiddles are only small potatoes which they deem as not more than their due. It is what lies in wait after parliament for those who, at whatever level of service, provided comfort and aid to the lobbyists out to wreak profit from the public purse. All those cosy little directorships and advisory consultancies with their fat fees for little effort and even less application of their time. And it does infect them all. I see Labour Party MP’s, men and women whom I know were once motivated by concern for the common good now grown cynical since the advent of New Labour, knowing full well that any rocking of the gravy boat will only result in their being deselected from the top and thinking, “Well, if that’s the way it is and I can’t do any good for anyone else I might as well do some good for myself”.

    It is not a case of a few rotten apples as the political class are so desperate to assure us, it is a case of no clean apple any longer being free from the taint of corruption.

    And the good news to come from all this is that we will now almost inevitably be left with a Tory administration to complete the destruction of the health service (as they gleefully promise), further lay waste to state education and further impoverish those who are most weak and vulnerable so that the likes of multimillionaire pretty-boy Alan Duncan will not have the intolerable burden of having to pay £6 a hour for a gardner since he’ll be able to get some hungry soul to do it in exchange for the chance to eat his windfall without being shot at.

  • Dave

    Well, you can all have a good rant, but you’ll all vote them back in again. In fact, it’s designed so that you can vent and be satisfied with venting, along with any tinkering that pretends to address the issue (but it will deliberately be the wrong issue) and won’t address the root causes of the fraud (the self-serving agenda of political parties that diverges dramatically from the national/public interest, and the low calibre individuals who will serve the party’s interest that are selected for ‘ratification’ by the electorate). These political parties have already exonerated themselves, blaming bad apples, parliamentary systems, or that the sin was merely getting caught, etc, rather than accept the the parties have promoted self-serving rogues and the public have unwittingly elected them on the recommendation of the parties.

  • Driftwood

    minor point i know, but Douglas Hogg didn’t look very ‘fat’ last time he was on TV.
    At least he had the good sense not to go on Channel 4 news tonight and defend his claim. Chris Huhne totally embarrassed himself in front of a public audience. Total (angry) denial he had done anything wrong despite offering to pay back the money for his trouser press.
    Hazel Blears was as chipper as ever at the Labour Party ‘launch’ of their Euro campaign.
    What price a Moat round the Houses of Parliament.
    Isn’t the symbol of the House of Commons a drawgate of some kind? very appropriate.

  • Driftwood
  • Rory Carr

    It is not a drawbridge, Driftwood, though it serves much same purpose. It is a portcullis, a heavy metal gate ending in spear-like points which can be dropped rapidly in order to deter access and possibly crush underneath any in the process of entering. (Every home should have one – available now from B&Q; Wilkinsons: Wickes and Focus etc.). Come to think of it, isn’t there one, or the remains of one at the entrance to Downpatrick Gaol?


    Welcome to the conciousness at least, if not the ranks, of the revolutionary. All you need to do now is get rid of the profit motivation.

  • Dave

    Rory, I’ve been advocating the abolition of political parties for a long time, so your welcome is a bit late in the day. I’ve also adocated the abolition of politics as a career, arguing that it should be a public service offered by the great and the good for nominal remumeration and for a limited number of terms. You, as a supporter of an establishment party like Shin Fein was far less revolutionary than you imagine yourself to be. 😉

    Now, how many of the UK’s 646 MPs are independent? Just 2.

  • Dave

    remumeration = remuneration
    adocated = advocated
    was = are

  • Driftwood

    There is indeed the remnants of one at the old Downpatrick Gaol, now Down County museum. Must look up the history of the emblem, as it so fits the bill for the mother of parliaments.
    I see Question Time is on shortly, maybe this is a hullaballo about nothing.
    BTW I’ve always thought Eddie McGrady a decent spud,I reckon he’ll be smear free.
    Was up at the Green and Red high schools today and various others around South Down, the pupils sitting their GCE Government and Politics exams.
    Wonder what they will make of it all?

  • Greagoir O Frainclin

    Jaypers, politicians and thieving seem to go hand in hand everywhere. All these offending MPs should be prosecuted for theft, deceit and perjury. If it was Joe Soap a hefty sentence and a stay at the ‘big house’ would be the outcome.

  • Driftwood

    Greagoir O Frainclin

    Maybe time for Her Majesty to finally excercise her authority and dissolve all our MP’s, well not literally, or actually, yes literally.

    Does the RoI have an equivalent of the Daily Telegraph? Or are all TD’s above this sort of thing?

  • Greagoir O Frainclin

    “Does the RoI have an equivalent of the Daily Telegraph? Or are all TD’s above this sort of thing?”

    FFS, Hey Driftwood, do I detect that you are getting a bit defensive, ye know what I mean, the British Unionist V Irish Nationalist sort of thing, just coz I made a comment about Her Majesty’s politicians and the present disclosures. But I did say that “politicians and thieving seem to go hand in hand everywhere” so I didn’t just mean your UK… relax….Of course I mean the Republic of Ireland too, as well as the rest of the world. Sure our politicians have a fine tradition of it since the foundation of the Free State…ie C J Haughey, Ray Burke, Liam Lawlor, etc…have all displayed a conniving, thieving and sleeveen streak, no different from the rest.