MPs, it seems, are just like the rest of us, they have rising bills to pay, expensive subsidised seconds homes to furnish. Unlike the rest of us however, they have idiots like us to pay for it.
The Commons has launched a last-ditch bid to block publication of detailed expenses of 14 MPs and ex MPs including Gordon Brown and David Cameron.
Now it seems, despite a Freedom of Information ruling, MPs are not going to give out information on the expenses on their second homes, as apparently it could be a threat to their security!
The group that is leading this legal challenge is headed by none other than Michael Martin, the Speaker of the House of Commons. This of course is the same Michael Martin that has spent £20,000 of taxpayers money on combating negative press – about him!
He also tried to block MPs travel expenses from being published, even though they were spending £5 million a year. But there’s more:
“More controversy followed in February 2008, when press sources reported that Martin used air miles accumulated on official business to fly his children and their families to London in business class. According to guidelines issued by the Members Estimate Committee, which Martin chairs, such airmiles should be used by him to offset his own official travel costs.”
I like that, the guidelines are from the Committee that he chairs, either he is stupid, doesn’t do his job properly or doesn’t care about the rules he helps create. Clearly these rules are created to give the general public the illusion that MPs don’t take the piss, when they clearly do.
“The resignation of his spokesman, the veteran Whitehall communications chief Mike Granatt, after he admitted that he had unwittingly misled the Mail on Sunday over £4,000 taxi expenses incurred by the speaker’s wife, Mary. Granatt blamed unnamed officials, but not the speaker, for falsely informing him that the expenses were legitimate because Martin’s wife had been accompanied by an official on shopping trips to buy food for receptions. It turned out that she had been accompanied by her housekeeper.”
It also turned out that the catering for these ‘receptions’, is actually handled by the parliamentary caterers!
I doubt that they could have picked a better man to head the Commons authorities, after all no one (surely), has more to lose, or indeed be found out about, than him. What other dubious expenses is he trying desperately to hide?
This battle has been dragging on for three years and the MPs are fighting tooth and nail on this issue. It stuns me how greedy these people are. They earn at least £60,000 a year, the average wage in the UK is £21,000, have average yearly expenses of £100,000 paid for them, are subsidised in everything that they do, yet still feel the need to milk the system.
They are meant to be public servants, doing it for the community rather for themselves or the money, as they seem to remind us every time there is an election.
Yet the House of Lords, the second chamber, does not pay its members. They do it for free! They are allowed to claim expenses, but nothing in the same league as MPs, the Lords have a maximum daily amount and only certain travelling expenses are covered.
So how is it that we have an elected chamber and an unelected chamber, but the unelected chamber is more accountable, unpaid and cheaper than the elected one?
As I have mentioned countless times here and elsewhere, I am not a fan of MPs. In fact in this enlightened age I really do not see what purpose they serve. The general public is educated enough to be able to make its own decisions. Furthermore, we have the technology to make this possible. Rather than just voting every few years, we could vote on all issues, especially local issues, vote either individually or as constituencies on national issues as well.
Instead we are relying on an elite group to make all our decisions for us, relying on them to do the right thing, when invariably they do what is best for them and then try their best to hide that from us.
Worst of all we now have a situation where we have not only the MPs from Westminster, but also those from the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish parliaments as well. All earning roughly the same amount of money (Scotland’s First Minister actually earns more than the Prime Minister of Great Britain!), same expenses and same inclination to bleed the system dry. We could save billions getting rid of these useless parasites.
As one of the parasites, Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas, said: “[there is a] price to pay for effective democracy.” Quite right, and he and all his elite club friends, are that price.