Safe seats and the MPs expenses scandal…

I want to come to a couple of back to back articles by Garrett FitzGerald in the Irish Times over the last two weeks in which he argues for a reforms that would see the Republic drop the STV system of Proportional Representation, for a rather complex Alternative Vote system. But in the meantime, Mark Thompson has some fascinating data which indicate a propensity for those in safe seats (the Member for Belfast East being one such case in point) towards implication in the expenses scandal… This earlier post lays out the proposition more clearly. However the caveat has to be that we don’t yet know the full extent of the irregularities, so the statistics here are necessarily incomplete and may even prove misleading. But since, as Guido notes, Douglas Carswell is one of the leading lights in the execution of the Speaker, and he only has a majority of 920…

  • happy as larry

    Better just to do as a letter in the Times today suggested: Get rid of them!. India has a population of roughly 1 billion people and has almost 100 fewer MPs than sit in Westminster. There is no need for more than 50 MPs. Then we could pay them a decent enough salary and get rid of the expenses claims. They do f*ck all anyway.

  • Thanks for the comments Mick.

    Good point about the very impressive Mr Carswell too. I hadn’t realised his majority was so small.

  • Sammy Morse

    Some politicians in the Republic don’t like STV because it makes them go out and knock doors on shitty evenings like this and take abuse from the public rather than quietly sitting on a nice party list place.

    That’s why I like it.

    As for Carswell’s suggestion, on one level, party primaries would allow the fossilised, lazy and stupid to be primaried out. On the other hand, where politics is geographically polaried anyway, like in California, it tends to promote extremism, as candidates run to the right or left to win their primary in seats that are safe for the party. It would probably do that in NI too.

  • Scrappage

    The propensity for those in safe seats being implicated in the expenses scandal is because they have been in the Commons longer and may have paid off their London mortgages and thus have to thresh around for other items to claim for to max out their London living allowance.