Friday, 24 April 2009

Opposition should work together to foil Brown's expenses plans....

. In many regards the Budget was fortunately timed for the government because although the early polls indicate it has not been well received it has cut-across 'Smeargate' and expenses. Both of which are more damaging in the sense that this never was going to be a popular Budget but at least it won't result in coming under heavy-fire from it's own side. In many regards it is yet another issue where the government and wider politics can't really win - such is the level of general mistrust of the system and the people within it but Brown's proposals really did take the cheese with the biscuit. Especially, when they are clearly going to be open to abuse as graphically illustrated by this passage in The Guardian today;

"Labour MP's said regional whips were persuading backbenchers to vote for the measure, with some telling MP's that if they travelled down from their constituency to London but did not necessarily attend Parliament, they would be able to claim for working that Sunday or Friday."

However, the government is most likely going to win the day; with one of the principle reasons being the neither the Conservatives nor Liberal Democrats agree with each other on what alternative proposals to submit. This is a shame because an opportunity for serious, much-needed reform is going to be whipped through parliament and with no united opposing set of proposals there is no pole of attraction for potential Labour dissidents to gravitate towards. Instead of meeting with the government, considering they have already walked out, maybe David Cameron and Nick Clegg should be considering meeting with each other.

The amount of difference between the two sets of proposals is so marginal as it clearly allows space for compromise and this is too important an issue for the credibility of the wider political system to allow the governments half-baked proposals to win the day.

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