So finally we have the usual pathetic shadows of apologies that we’ve come to expect from Gordon and Dave. Neither seems particularly sorry about what their MPs have been doing over the years so much as that they’ve been caught. Of course still they carry on with the “within the rules” nonsense, the rules it would seem state:
“Claims must only be made for expenditure that it was necessary for a Member to incur to ensure that he or she could properly perform his or her parliamentary duties”
As Anna Raccoon observes in the case of Phil Woolas shoes, comics jumpers etc. can hardly fall under that definition. Which seems to be the case with a substantial number of the claims published so far. So what is the point of our glorious leaders promising to change the rules when they’re already not keeping to the rules. I do think that changing the rules is probably vital, but there is no point in changing rules unless the rules are actually enforced. As it is it seems like just another knee jerk make more laws and don’t worry about enforcement because just making the law makes everything so type response that is so beloved of our current parliament.
As Old Holborn observes, sorry isn’t good enough. Fraudulent claims have been made it isn’t sufficient that some token amount be repaid, it isn’t even sufficient if every last ill gotten penny is repaid. There must be criminal proceeding brought with appropriate penalties for those found guilty, exactly the same as the rest of us can expect if we make mistakes on tax returns or benefit claims. Where it is uncertain how much has been claimed then the same yard stick must be used on them as on us, they must prove it was legitimately gained or lose it, the provision of the Proceeds of Crime act “Property: general provisions” would to my laymans eye seem particularly handy.
Once every single member has been investigated and charged as appropriate, once every member who’s made a dodgy claim has been kicked out of their seat for bringing parliament into dishonor then maybe these apologies will carry some weight. In the meantime there’s nothing to stop any of our elected representatives taking matters into their own hands and if they’re so sure that their claims are justified publish them unredacted in full for their constituents to see. Greg hands MP has done it, what’s stopping the other 645? After all if they’ve nothing to hide they’ve nothing to fear? Right?
Or perhaps all that is left is for her Majesties subjects to petition her Majesty to remove the corrupt parasites currently occupy her parliament and to allow us to give voice and pass verdict on the lot of them in the government convened court of public opinion.
They suggested it over a different matter but I begin to suspect that the BNP have a good point. (One shouldn’t ignore the message merely due to the messenger).