Monday, October 19, 2009


Legg Letters Pile on Unnecessary Agony

I was in two minds whether to use a picture of Tomas Torquemada rather than Sir Thomas Legg, so closely have their roles appeared to merge. After the shameful idiocy of the expenses scandal we now have its pathetic revival whereby expenses drawn(and approved) years ago are being raked over yet again and some MPs asked to repay substantial sums while others escape virtually scott-free.

Public opinion is being whipped up again over something relatively trivial compared to the huge bonuses the bankers are apparently being allowed to draw again- possibly of the same scale as those which are alleged to have contributed to the near meltdown last autumn. Conspiracy theorists might be tempted to say the expenses scandal is the perfect smoke screen behind which the masters of capitalism can continue to rake in the loot.

But such expalnations are always too simple of course. It's much more to do with the next election, the campaign for which has been robustly in train since the conference season. All the party leaders are terrified of allowing one of the others to establish an advantage by offering a tough macho posture to voters on a matter they are belived to be greatly exercised. They're a bit fed up with it actually in my view. That old columnist warhorse Alan Watkins in the IOS yesterday offered a good analysis on why Brown and Cameron are trying to out 'bully' one another, pointing out that such ridiculous posturing led to the end of that deservedly popular MP, Ian Gibson:

Mr Brown farmed out sanctions-imposing powers to the National Executive Committee: about as suitable a body for imposing sanctions as the social committee of the Millwall Supporters' Club. This body's or Mr Brown's principal victim was Dr Ian Gibson, who had been member for Norwich North and had provided a trifling benefit for his daughter. He was liked in his constituency, highly regarded in the House and a critic of Mr Brown. Accordingly, he had to go. It was a clear-cut case.

Would it not have been far better, in John Major's famous words, to 'draw a line' under the scandal and 'move on' as we are all supposed to after emotional traumas? This farting about with repayments benefits nobody and merely pours more unhealthy contumely over an institution already in intensive care.

Why did they not just look at it tell the worse to pay it back and leave what happened ten years ago alone, this is just turning more and more people away from politics and we will end up with a new record before long, a government being elected with 15% of the population voting.
Got to disagree. This is the best thing to happen in politics for ages. I am loving it. I hope it lasts for many more months(or at least eight more anyway).

The difference with the bankers is that this is public money(I am aware that this Labour Government disgracefully bailed out private institutions with public money and did nothing to stop the bonuses you speak of - their fault, not mine).

I have a right to be outraged when these people were manipulating the system. You argue that we are "raking over" approved expenses. The expenses may have been legal. It may even be argued that "flipping" was legal(although I would like to see a case brought to test this). But MPs behaved immorally and deserve to be exposed for this. And if they don't pay back the money willingly - with an apology - then they deserve to have this highlighted when they seek to have their contracts extended next summer.

If the less informed and less politically interested of our population choose to stay in their hovels with their prolefeed, rather than vote next summer, then the democratic system is only the richer for that.
Well 63% of the population and I suspect many are well and truly educated, did not bother voting at the last election, I suspect a few more will not bother at the next one.

When you have three parties who basically believe the same tripe then sadly I will be one of them
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