Sunday, May 10, 2009

Hairshirt time

Kerry McCarthy has an excellent piece about MPs' expenses, as does Paul from the Bickerstaffe Record.

A lot of MPs have been completely taking the piss with their expense claims, and they should, at the very least, not be MPs after the next election. There are others who haven't done anything wrong, and don't deserve the same punishment.

The reporting from the Daily Telegraph (and others) has deliberately aimed to mix up the two categories in order to score political points. Essentially any expenses claim can be reported in a way which makes it sound really bad, particularly if included in a list with some of the more outrageous examples. So, for example, Friday's headlines were about Gordon Brown's gardener, clearly implying that there was something dodgy going on, and buried in Sunday's editorial there was a weasel phrase about "There has never been any suggestion of any impropriety on the part of the Prime Minister or his brother." I think more concentration on the truly grotesque expenses, rather than trying to spread the blame between guilty and innocent alike, would have been more ethical.

Hopefully most Labour MPs would agree with Kerry when she writes that, "As I've said, the rules have changed and further change is needed. I don't have the solution. I don't think anyone does at this stage. But if we have to wear hairshirts for a while, or from now onwards, then so be it. Frankly, we - collectively speaking - deserve it."

2 Comments:

At 8:01 am , Blogger Robert said...

I did not believe the BNP or UKIp or these other parties would gain anything, last night i watched the ass holes with the BNP speaking, sadly I think these parties will gain a lot in June, and I think Labour are going to get scalped next year, yes these things are soon forgotten but people still remember when they are being done and boy we are being done now.

 
At 9:20 am , Anonymous stephen said...

"As I've said, the rules have changed and further change is needed. I don't have the solution. I don't think anyone does at this stage. But if we have to wear hairshirts for a while, or from now onwards, then so be it. Frankly, we - collectively speaking - deserve it."

I don't know why she thinks a soluton is so difficult to arrive at. Thousands of public and private organisations administer expenses systems for their employees, and some of those employees have just as complicated living arrangements as MPs. I see reason why it would not be possible to construct a rigorous but fair expenses system that gave MPs fair compensation for their out of pocket expenses but eliminated the abuses. Why do MPs pretend that this is so difficult?

 

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