Friday, 8 May 2009

Taking the lead on exspenses

. Several places have blogged the story in the Daily Telegraph and rightly feel in my eyes that this is the start of something akin to a witch hunting atmosphere is gathering, something Charlotte Gore characterises as the prelude to an 'us v them' atmosphere. No doubt this explains the not so strange silence of Nick Clegg and David Cameron, noted by Guido Fawkes. When questioned on Newsnight recently about whether Clegg would impose rules on Lib Dem MPs specifically he slithered and squirmed to the point of it being very embarrassing to watch.

We can't doubt that the main beneficiaries of this kind of atmosphere will be the BNP and political movements akin to them if nothing is done. This issue should be considered in much the same light as the donor issue; that if we fail to take a lead then nobody will see us as being serious about fixing 'broken politics'. If we merely continue to say well we will do what the government does then it will look like an entrenched political class banding together to save itself and preserve it's own perks.

Various solutions present themselves; Charlotte wants a general election called which it should be but not on this issue alone, that is akin to actually building a bonfire to burn the witches. A sensible, and reasoned rational debate about what expenses MP's do legitimately need to claim is hard enough to have without making it the centrepiece of an election campaign. Amidst all the outrage and front page headlines there has to be a reasoned argument and public discussion about what is legitimate and what isn't and part of that does entail the mood of popular outrage giving ground.

I think the opportunity exists for Clegg to make it clear that we won't accept expenses abuse from our own MP's by introducing binding guidelines for Liberal Democrat MP's. This has to be done to show that we are serious about our 'fixing' agenda....

3 comments:

Julian H said...

But there are guidelines. To paraphrase: "MPs must not claim on projects for their personal profit", "MPs must not buy luxurious items", and so on. These are openly known, yet as soon as a few details emerge we discover that most of them have been ignoring the guidelines and exploiting the system for years.

I'm up for full, unfettered transparency on this one. Let us see everything, every single claim, and all the details thereunder. This is OUR money. And MPs like Blears should either be sacked or, if not, let the public take out its discontent on the most self-serving, unprincipled parties and Members (by voting them out - although a bonfire would be almost too kind for some of these characters).

Darrell G said...

Julian,

I think to be honest this is taking on all the dimensions of a witchhunt which I never as a rule support because they are the biggest obstacle to a rational discussion about solving the problem.

Your comments illustrate the point perfectly. I am in favour of more transparancey and think everything should be disclosed as you rightly say because it is our money but it is money that sometimes is entitled to be claimed. Missing in the sensationalist press are the stories about people who work in politics for nothing or a pittance because that simply wouldn't be newsworthy now would it....

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