To Ken Maginnis they’re just boys and girls

Ken Maginnis, the Baron Maginnis of Drumglass has never been overburdened by PC. It’s always been part of his charm. Decent certainly, honourable absolutely, courageous, even, but politically correct, never. Ken has even taken to the pages of the Bel Tel to spread the news of his latest sally beyond the Hansard record, a counter-intuitive speech on expenses, the poor quality of the political class and over-government at home. Ken unfashionably argues for MPs to be paid better salaries; but also for a better calibre of MP.

“My Lords is it not time that the other place looked at the initial deceit from which the problems were derived; that is, the deceit that said that Members of Parliament are worth half of what a GP is paid, but that a trough would be created into which people could put their snouts to make up the deficit?
Will any regulatory body understand the complexities of a House like this with experienced people, vis-à-vis the other place where a large proportion are but boys and girls sent to do men’s jobs — people without experience and without having made their own way in life?”

But my biggest gripe is that electorates have been brain-washed to value university |degrees, good looks, voice quality and various politically correct attributes above other more tangible assets like moral fibre, experience, determination and even principle.”
Who can he have in mind for “good looks, voice quality” etc? Hardly the present Prime Minister; his predecessor maybe? The description doesn’t quite fit the DUP. And who can resist brain-washing? Why ex-headmasters and natural members of the officer class of course, who once patrolled the byways of Tyrone at dead of night. And who’s to blame for creating these feeble-minded professionals? Why we the voters, who else? It takes an unelected lord to speak the truth!.

“So why would professional politicians change all this when, sadly, it’s you and I — the electorate — who vote for pretty packaging rather than (dare I say it) decent, genuine people who are able and willing to serve!”

Not that all “experienced” lords have been free of the stain of corruption, as he forgot to remind us. I have it on good authority at Westminster that Ken’s comments have already passed into the legend of the expenses scandal.

  • Outsider

    I thought this lacklustre politician was long gone, disappointing to realise he is still spouting rubbish.

    Decent, honourable and courageous are not words many would use to describe Maginnis, ‘A snake in the grass’ would be more apt.

  • Big Maggie

    “My Lords is it not time that the other place looked at the initial deceit from which the problems were derived”

    Two things in that sentence sum up the absurdity that’s the House of Lords (apart from the fact that Ken was “elevated” to its membership).

    One: “My Lords.” Are they all male? I thought there were women there too.

    Two: “The other place.” What’s wrong with the House of Commons?

    Honestly, the jargon of the British parliamentary system is too preposterous for words.

  • Ken Maginness has made some valid points but this is not the right time to make them.

    Before we move on to the points that Ken is making, the expenses system needs to be changed.

    Later on, when a satisfactory system is in place, debate should move on to reflection. That should include the relationship between voter and MP and the kind of society that the MP represents. We also need to look at the value of the MP. The salary, without the expenses system in place at the moment, is almost certainly too low.

    I would put Ken’s central point in a different way. Most of the public are angry – yet who are they to suggest that MPs should all be saints when their personal interests are at conflict with the taxpayer. I can not help thinking that the vast majority of people, had they been put in the same position as the MPs, would have acted similarly to the present MPs, particularly when the “trough” is so beautifully designed for the “snout” to fit perfectly into it.

  • Big Maggie

    Seymour Major,

    “the “trough” is so beautifully designed for the “snout” to fit perfectly into it.”

    LOL.

    “the vast majority of people, had they been put in the same position as the MPs, would have acted similarly to the present MPs”

    The system is clearly flawed but while we’re changing it, let’s treat those MPs who were guilty of tax evasion and other criminal acts as you and I would be treated by the law. They need to be prosecuted, fined and/or imprisoned as any member of their electorate would be.

  • Rory Carr

    One of the most compelling arguments for prosecution where evidence of fraud is detected must be that at trial the defence might then resort, at least in mitigation, to detailing the minutiae of the system that allowed them to believe that it would be in keeping with the rules for them to make such claims or at least that their claim would not be scrutinised too scrupulously. Hasn’t one outed MP already claimed that he was given the ok to claim for interest on a mortgage that had already been redeemed? Who gave him the nod? What caused that person to believe that he could “give him the nod”? We might then begin to follow the trail back to its origins.

    All of which of course means that is more than likely that there will not be any prosecutions and the code of omerta among our elected represntatives will not be breached.

  • Padraig

    Gossip is sometimes referred to as halitosis of the mind.

  • Big Maggie

    I see SDLP’s Eddie McGrady is in the >Telegraph‘s crosshairs now:

    “Eddie McGrady, a Northern Ireland MP claimed more than £17,000 for top-of-the-range London hotels and tried to charge the taxpayer £2,570 for food, laundry and telephone bills over eight nights.”

    I also briefly heard Talkback fingering DUP’s Nigel Dodds but missed details. Seems he’s been a very naughty boy too. (Not a good time for the Doddses, what with Diane making an eejit of herself.)

    The truth will soon out, never fear.

  • “The system is clearly flawed but while we’re changing it, let’s treat those MPs who were guilty of tax evasion and other criminal acts as you and I would be treated by the law. They need to be prosecuted, fined and/or imprisoned as any member of their electorate would be.”

    I agree with Big Maggie that there should be prosecutions. I said that a long time ago and I am sorry if my comment suggested otherwise.

    Somebody said to me yesterday that there should be a prosecution against Lady Sylvia Hermon.

    People need to appreciate for a fraud charge to succeed, the prosecution must prove, beyond reasonable doubt that all of the elements of the offence have been committed. One of the elements of a fraud charge is dishonesty. If an MP says “that was an oversight,” dishonesty will be almost impossible to prove beyond reasonable doubt. For that reason, the vast majority of MPs who have made unethical claims will not be prosecuted.

    There will be a handful of cases where there could be charges. For example, where an MP claims for a mortgage which had been paid off, he/she may find it very difficult to pretend it was a simple mistake.

    If there are police investigations, we are unlikely to know much about them until a suspect is arrested or charged. If there are any prosecutions, they wont take place this side of a general election.

  • Greenflag

    ‘Ken unfashionably argues for MPs to be paid better salaries; but also for a better calibre of MP.’

    Now where have I heard that argument before ? Ah yes Dail Eireann where we have discovered that the more you pay them the worse they become and that when there’s too much in the kitty some very grasping alley cats claw their way to the table .

    And yet not a one of them in the Dail or Westminster or Stormont could see (or was bothered ) to see the economic tsunami on it’s
    way ?

    As for ‘waste in government ‘ I’m reminded of Margaret Thatcher’s great crusade against waste in the public sector ( and yes there was waste ) but somehow by the time she had finished in office or at least early in John Major’s time -public sector expenditure as a percentage of GDP was back to where it had been when Mrs Thatcher set out on her ‘house cleaning ‘ mission . That mission was never accomplished and some might add that the ‘privatisation ‘ campaign has led to even worse pilfering of the public purse and even more waste .

    And now the ‘public purse’ is being taxed to the hilt to pay for exactly what ? Ah yes the giants of the free market the banks and investment houses and all those yes even unto the Presbyterian Mutual who played ‘poker ‘ with their investors deposits, are
    now on their knees begging for ‘help’ from the people/depositors/taxpayers ?

    Of course to secure these bail outs these institutions have to go through the people’s elected representatives in Parliament/Dail/ Congress take your pick .

    I’ve always maintained that politicians are the necessary excrement which keeps the body politic functioning . As for how much that ‘excrement ‘ should be paid ?

    Not too much and not to little for either will attract the wrong kind of public representative.

  • Greenflag

    big maggie ,

    ‘let’s treat those MPs who were guilty of tax evasion and other criminal acts as you and I would be treated by the law. They need to be prosecuted, fined and/or imprisoned as any member of their electorate would be.’

    Good lord are you a communist or what ;)? You mean equal treatment before the law ? Sheeesh never heard the likes .

    So just like whats going to happen to those clerics in religious orders who broke the law ?

    Seymour Major,

    ‘If an MP says “that was an oversight,” dishonesty will be almost impossible to prove’

    Wonderful exit stategy . I’m also tempted to throw my hat into the MP membership stakes – so that the next time I rob a bank I’ll be able to to say to my cousin the judge ‘ that was an oversight’ sorry can I go now please ;)?

    Where there’s law there’s injustice -and where there’s no law there’s even more injustice 🙁
    It’s human nature which is not to excuse it .

    Just as you would not send a sheep to negotiate with a pack of wolves then neither should politicians , bankers , CEO’s of large corporations or ministers of religion be able to decide how much they will decide to pay themselves . As night follows day financial mayhem for an institution , a religion , a political party or an entire country will be only a matter of time .

  • Greenflag

    Error above in 9

    ‘even unto the Presbyterian Mutual who played ‘poker ’ with their investors deposits, are now on their knees’

    I am reminded that Unfree Presbyterians don’t kneel to God but that it’s the other way around ;)? Not sure about the Free Presbyterians but as their Chief Throne Accountant always knew how to gather in the sheaves via silent collections perhaps they are in a more liquid financial state than the Unfree’s .

  • Big Maggie

    My sympathy with the investors. They were lied to by the Mutual and their Church doesn’t seem to have lifted a finger to help them.

    These are just ordinary people, not wealthy bankers. It’s not right they should be made victims of somebody else’s mismanagement.

  • Greenflag

    big maggie ,

    ‘They were lied to by –‘

    This has to be the single most oft used ‘cliche’ today in politics , business, religion , and by ‘innocent’ mortgage brokers , bankers and professional investment advisers etc.

    So what makes people believe that just because somebody is wearing a suit & tie or a clerical collar or has letters after their name that they are to be ‘trusted ‘ with one’s life’s savings ?

    Most of those who did the lying are being bailed out so that they can live to lie again or at least so it would seem.

    Lions eat zebras , wolves eat sheep and bankers eat people or they would if they could get away with it. However as cannibalism is illegal (just about), they go for the next item on their rapacious menu people’s life savings 🙁

    I don’t pretend to know the detail on this issue but I’m sure these people i.e (the looted ) will have learnt a valuable lesson in the matter of trust . I’d recommend that in future they consider their local Credit Union as being a more trustworthy repositor of savings .

  • Big Maggie

    Greenflag,

    I hear where you’re coming from. Yet the fact remains that the Mutual should have been, moralistically speaking, the best deal for investors of like persuasion.

    It wasn’t, and this is the real scandal. Those people put their trust, and faith, in an institution that by its very name should have ensured them a safe repository for their hard-earned savings. It didn’t; it lied to them. That’s shameful. Worse than shameful.

    I don’t of course share the shareholders’ beliefs but do believe that they’re morally entitled to whatever is accruing to them.

    I actually admire the Presbyterian faith because it places the individual centre stage—in contrast to the RC Church into which I was involuntarily baptized, and whose hierarchical structure is unblushingly medieval. Long may the Presbyterians prosper!

    I hope they call the scoundrels in their midst to account.

  • Laird.ie

    £415 expenses a day. Easy to see that he comes from the place that receives £3 961.52 acknowledged subsidy and an unknown hidden subsidy.

  • Driftwood