Sunday, 25 May 2008

Pigs have more pride

Pig in troughSo the expenses and allowances of our MPs are being revealed. How many of us are genuinely surprised to hear that some bare-faced cheek has been applied by our representatives when making their claims against the public purse? What's that I hear? Silence.

Some examples: Health Minister Ann Keen drawing £100k allowances against the procurement of a luxury Westminster flat; she and her husband insuring their lives for £430k and claiming the premiums; David Cameron claiming £1,742 per month on mortgage payments; Margaret Beckett's £19,000 claims for housing costs, including 120 visits by her gardener.

All of today's papers have a set of favourite 'shocker' claims to report. It's clear why MPs were so reluctant for this information to be revealed, and their spending over many years was quite blatantly done in the sure knowledge that it would never come to light.

To counter accusations of porcine gluttony, defenders state that no rules have been broken. But setting your own rules doesn't count for much does it? The claim that revealing MPs' addresses would place them at risk was also a smokescreen. Fine, hide those facts (most of which are in the public domain anyway). But what is spent from taxes should be public knowledge also.

So often proclaiming an urge to champion the poor and under-privileged our political masters have finally had the veil lifted on their secret excesses, claimed and paid in cynical contravention of stated beliefs and ethics.

What sort of internal control is in effect to stop such drainage of taxpayers' cash? None it would seem. No self-respecting commercial organisation would tolerate such wanton misappropriation of its funds by its staff. Why should government be different?

After years of the major parties accusing each other of sleaze, the general public now sees that it is endemic within the very system.

Pigs with their snouts in the trough?

Pigs have more pride.

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