A View From Middle England - Conservative with a slight libertarian touch - For Christian charity and traditional belief - Free Enterprise NOT Covert Corporatism

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Nick Clegg misses the point!

I'm getting a bit miffed with the party leaders and their approach to the expense scandal. They are, all three, excercising some kind of mammoth bolting procedure of a rickety stable door when the old nag itself is no longer chomping on the hay.

The truth is the Additional Costs Allowance was an unstainstable, unsupportable and totally mistaken idea in the first place. It rather vaguely said that second-home expenses may only be claimed for spending "necessarily incurred in staying overnight away from their main home for the purpose of performing their parliamentary duties". It seems all sorts were allowed, including gardening expenses. Nick Clegg and the other two leaders happily availed themselves of the system. They didn't squeak when they turned up at the Fees Office. "Gardening expenses, Mr.Clegg?" "Yeah, got a bigger mower and a smaller groundsman, er, I mean, gardener, er, or, handyman." "Right, OK, sign there then and the cash is yours. Not feeling a tad uncomfortable that you've got the most expensive gardener in Sheffield? I could always find a lad who'd do it for a quid? No, not interested? Oh, well!"

That conversation never took place. Neither did much else regarding the Allowance Scheme. However, it was what MPs were expected to be involved in. Now it's become a farce. It's one thing going after a person who has extorted cash or fiddled the system, but Nick Clegg is going after MPs who have "played by the rules". As with David Cameron, he is falling into a holier-than-thou position. This is not morally right. It is also totally undemocratic. It is not up to them to decide if a person who has not broken any rules should be de-selected. It is up to the voters to decide the merits of electing a candidate.

We are getting a kind of witch-hunt going on because the "authorities" feel uncomfortable. The truth is that legally and morally MPs who did not abuse the system should not pay anything back. The system was crazy, but then loads of businesses have crazy systems. Gordon Brown keeps telling us that continued bank bonuses are not illegal. However, it may be politically prudent for MPs to pay back unnecessary expenses.

Nick Clegg has paid back some of his gardening expenses but not all of them. Sir Thomas Legg thinks that a £1000 maximum for mowing your lawn and sweeping up the trash is OK. If he thinks that, then his time has been a waste. His first question should have been as to why an MP felt he needed to have his lawnmowing paid for in the first place.

The whole thing will not be sorted by Sir Thomas Legg and his pen-pushing exercise. No, it will be sorted at the Great Clearance Election next year!


Post a Comment