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May 12, 2009

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Kay Tie

Perhaps this it's a good time to agree a new democratic compact. I'd be in favour of compulsory voting (with a NOTA on the ballot paper, naturally). It's not acceptable to allow politicians to claim to speak for the silent majority when in fact they are trying to pacify the mob.

HuwOS

No I have no party affiliations.

HuwOS

I have no problems with reform
but if you listen to the man on the street
you know that they don't want reform
They want mps to not be given expenses, they begrudge their salaries and they are prey to those who would make undemocratic "reforms"
such as reducing the number of mps or perhaps worse.
Apathy amongst the electorate in a democracy combined with a mob, fix it now mentality can lead to the death of that democracy.
It is much more fragile than it seems to people and can easily be wiped away in less time than it takes for a season of big brother to run its course.

masiv

Yes, I know it has happened and disgaceful, ignorant behaviour it was, but you are making sweeping statements and broad generalisations about people. I agree no credit should be given to people who pop their head out from underneath their stone, have a rant and disappear again.

"they plan to shake the pillars of democracy to breaking" is a rather dramatic choice of words. Have you got a problem with reforms regarding Westminster?

Out of interest are you a party worker at any level?

HuwOS

Actually for paediatrist read paediatrician.
Lack of concentration from me there.

.

HuwOS

No I am saying that people who take no part in choosing their representatives, who normally take no part in any thoughtful discussion about policies or politics who are now howling and baying about the misuse as well as the correct use of mp expenses in a similar ignorant mob mentality to that which leads to paediatrists being driven from their homes (yes it has happened), I am saying that those people if they intended to now take up their role as rulers of this country are welcome
but if they plan to shake the pillars of democracy to breaking and then go back to sulky disaffection and disinterest then there is absolutely no credit to be given to them.

masiv

I agree with your 'If you're not part of the solution, you are part of the problem' view, but the electorate only get to vote every 4/5 years for Westminster. Fair enough, they can vote for someone else if they are disatisfied, but are you suggesting that people don't have the right to speak out on policies, developments, behaviour of politicians inbetween these elections?

Some people on the streets can be reactionary, but are you telling me that some MPs are not exactly the same? I would rather get out onto the streets and discuss these issues with the people, rather than engaging in post prandial dialectics.

patrick

HOS
The above points are bang on the nail.
For many years and doing many different jobs i have met too many growling bears to count.
Should an individual feel that strongly that politicians are 'letting my country down', i tell them that they have choices.
They are at liberty to vote for an alternative and secondly , they are able to stand themselves.

An MPS existence (despite what most of the public think) is to surrender most of your family life and to take on a workload of a huge scale.

Maybe now we will see the formation of the growling bear party....oh i forgot we allready have one!

HuwOS

Nobody can spend any time thinking about whether to vote or not and sanely or intelligently decide that a suitable way to protest is to not vote, so I shall stand by my statement that people who claim to be protesting by not voting or by spoiling their ballot are idiots, misguided idiots if you prefer but still idiots.

"Go outside your bubble and speak to people on the street. I do, and that is exactly what people are saying."

People say lots of things, their favourite is that whatever problem there is they had no part in creating it and someone else is to blame and they are wrong about that.
They also like to say all politicians are the same and they are wrong about that.
They also like to say it doesn't matter who you vote for and they are wrong about that too, people are often wrong about a great many things. In general it is true to say that if you want ignorant, ill informed opinions then listen to what people are saying on the street.
The mood currently ostensibly about mp expenses is the culmination of a long period of dissatisfaction not to mention disinterest in politics and democracy, which is greatly to do with the electorate disowning their responsibilities and is incredibly dangerous.
We are once again hearing people calling for fewer MPs as if reduced representation is the recipe for healthy democracy. Such a move would be the antithesis of a democratic move and would make invidual mps more powerful and less accountable.

When a football manager plays a team he has to take responsibility for the choices he makes, for specific individual bad performances he can lay the blame on individual players, but ultimately if the manager keeps making bad choices there is no one to blame but the manager and the same goes for the choices the electorate make for their representatives, ultimately there is no one to blame but the electorate.

For members of the electorate to say that they can't be bothered to choose good representatives because the choices they have made up to now have been terrible is not the fault of politicians.

And the "you" referred to in
"if you simply enjoy short term begrudgery and roasting politicians but will then sink back into moronic disconnection"

Is any and all of those who have played no part in the democratic process previously who raise their heads now to bellow and howl like angry bears all puffed up in unlikely self righteousness but who will then return to the scratching of their rear ends as opposed to finally taking up their duties and responsibilities.
Because in a democracy, the electorate are the people running the country, we delegate to our representatives but ultimately the choices they make on our behalf are ours to keep.

masiv

People who protest in a democracy by not voting are misguided, not "idiots". Some of them do not see any real choice in the poltical parties (especially the main ones), and so feel that it is a waste of time voting. I do not agree with that point of view, but I understand it. The way in which politicians act can cause apathy amongst the electorate. Go outside your bubble and speak to people on the street. I do, and that is exactly what people are saying.

The electorate choose the politicians, that is correct, but during their term of office, they vote and lobby on different policies and the way that they conduct themselves effect society and help shape it. Therefore they are responsible for the repurcusions.

People should pay more attention in how the country is run, that is also correct. Who is "you", which you accuse of "simply enjoy(ing) short term begrudgery and roasting politicians but will then sink back into moronic disconnection then you can make no claim to living up to your own duties and responsibilites to your country and impress no one."?

HuwOS

"People who protest in a democracy by not"

Could have been an oh so clever sentence meaning not as in not taking action, not taking responsibility, not being involved

But in fact all that was missing was the word
voting.

Not voting in a democracy is not a protest, it is in fact nothing other than giving up a fairly hard won right and responsibility
for absolutely no reason whatsoever.

HuwOS

People who protest in a democracy by not, are idiots.
Politicians are not responsible for apathy amongst people, how could they be when they seem responsible for apoplexy on the part of so many.
The electorate elect, employ and otherwise choose to reward certain politicians over other candidates for the role. While cabinet collective responsibility may be a joke, the electorate cannot abdicate responsibility , ultimately the only ones to blame for the politicians and governments that you have in a democracy, is the electorate.

If the MP expenses issue made people prick up their ears and pay attention then good, but you better be in for the long haul, if you simply enjoy short term begrudgery and roasting politicians but will then sink back into moronic disconnection then you can make no claim to living up to your own duties and responsibilites to your country and impress no one.

masiv

Well done Paul. Good to see someone making a stand. There are a lot of good things about parliament, but unfortunately also a lot of bad. Wouldn't now be as good a time as any for wholesale reform? I hope all the politicians involved in this scandal hang their heads in shame after the European elections when the BNP have secured at least 6 seats and gain access to over £2 million pound in funding. For it is those politicians who have caused the apathy in the country whereby voters will either protest at the ballot box or stay home. In either case the BNP's % of the vote will rise dramatically.

Paul Flynn

Thanks Harry. Cannot disagree with that. I did not vote for him. He has never been more than adequate - and that only on rare occasions.

Harry Mason

Surely this is the worst speaker Parliament has had for a long time,compared with the great.. miss Betty B..and others before her he is not worth the huge salary he's probably getting.

Paul Flynn

THANKS GEORGE LAIRD,

I agree with your comments. The Speaker is a serial offender. He is pleasant decent individual but he has brought the office into disrepute. His contribution on expenses has made a dreadful situation worse. You are right that his ousting would be a serious blow for parliament. His resignation would be less damaging. Next week will be like no other.

Huw O'Sullivan

KayTie, when the Tories and New Labour, voted to join with the U.S. in attacking Iraq under false pretences, knowing that such an attack was illegal under international law, in the full knowledge that they were going against the will of the UN security council, that gave us a true unspun view of the character of MP's
as well as leading to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi men women and children.

This expenses fiasco gives us a lot of froth for a very simple situation.
There are truly important issues that cost lives and there are expenses, someday hopefully people will figure out the difference.

patrick

I think the main problem here is that we are looking for 650 odd untainted souls to represent us from a largely corrupt society.

As MPS make the decisions that affect all of our lives it is of paramount importance that at the very least MPs are not given preferential treatment to that of the larger public.

The last weeks have shown us that the rules need a major reformation and ' shockingly' MPS are human beings.

To start the clean-up I suggest that the likes of Blears, Elliot Morley , Hogg and the other Tory Millionaires be sacked and prosecuted immediately.

Their respected crimes are outrages and would send the average person to prison!

Kay Tie

"I know KayTie cannot possibly have an issue with MP's claims that were within the rules as it is an argument she clings to tightly when it comes to her ability to take tax avoidance measures."

I think that's unfair. There are things that were "within the rules" that actually weren't within the rules. Particularly when the Fees Office were not fully informed as to what was going on (we all know that putting in a dodgy expense claim at work, then saying "well, they sent me the cheque so it must have been within the rules" is tantamount to fraud).

Some people were operating within the rules and have been traduced unfairly. I took the time to investigate Phil Woolas' claims for "tampons" and found out that he was innocent of the accusation. I haven't had time to look at others, so I've taken the subsequent claims with a pinch of salt.

"Where they have made claims outside the rules there are proper authorities to deal with them"

Alas that's not true. Parliament is a sovereign body, and investigations by the police and HMRC into widespread misbehaviour are not going to be very willingly undertaken. The problem is that there is no proper authority.

"MPs expenses are an issue, it's true, but one that has been overblown and is taking far too much attention from what is actually important."

It's not the money, it's the moral code by which the dodgy claimants live by. Do you think it's right that an MP who thinks it's fair game to evade taxes (yes, evade, not avoid) should be voting on tax law, sitting on finance committees or being a minister? I don't.

The expenses scandal has given us a true unspun view of the character of MPs: they didn't think they were being watched and acted accordingly. This really does sort out the good from the bad.

Huw O'Sullivan

Some have misrepresented circumstances, most have claimed within the rules for things they are allowed within the rules.
Where we are unhappy with the rules,
and there is no doubt that we are unhappy with them, then we should indeed call for them to be changed but there is little excuse for the frothing at the mouth described for often minor items of expenditure.
MP's are our representatives, there is no doubt that this should be a high paying job, its importance is certainly high and where constituencies are unhappy with the performance of their representative it is up to them whether to re-employ them or not.

I know KayTie cannot possibly have an issue with MP's claims that were within the rules as it is an argument she clings to tightly when it comes to her ability to take tax avoidance measures.
Where they have made claims outside the rules there are proper authorities to deal with them and ultimately regardless of what happens with those they have to face their electorate.
MPs expenses are an issue, it's true, but one that has been overblown and is taking far too much attention from what is actually important.
I just hope against hope that people will grow up and start addressing them, every day wasted on this nonsense will make dealing with the real issues all the more difficult.

Kay Tie

"People get paid truly massive and grotesque amounts of money for kicking a ball about,reading the news,taking their clothes off etc etc and virtually nobody says a word."

That's because it's freely earned: the people paying the money freely chose to do so knowing what they would get for it.

You might think that "someone kicking a ball" gets paid a grotesque amount. That's because you don't care about the ball, or the financial effect on your football club of having people who can kick a ball. You aren't paying the money, so in a very literal sense you should mind your own business.

Where it is your business, and mine, is where we have our money taken from us and handed to people who have misrepresented circumstances to fraudulently enrich themselves.

George Laird

Dear All

As much as Michael Martin should go, the joy in some bloggers is disgusting.

What people should remember is that this act is essential to rebuild trust in the House of Commons.

It also makes the House of Commons a lesser place.

I have been quite firm in calling for Michael Martin to stand down because he is not good enough to be Speaker.

This is not because of class, religion or politics, it is because he lacks commonsense.

The argument with Kate Hoey is not the first example of him having a running spate with an MP in the Chamber.

When this motion goes forward I would hope that MPs' will vote solely on Martin's merits and conduct.

Afterwards if he is removed there should be no celebration because that is the day that Parliament is disgrace further as an institution.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Paul Flynn

Chris, it never crossed my mind that I was supporting Kate Hoey in seeking the Speaker's resignation. My views of her are similar to yours. Not only did he mis-judged the mood of the nation he behave boorishly to the two 'whistle blowers'.

He gave Kate Hoey the chance to act the injured martyr. Yesterday he treated David Winnick badly. Root and branch reforms are essential. Michael Martin is the wrong one to do that job.


Chris

Whilst the issue of expenses needs sorting out, I do feel a sense of proportion is required. People get paid truly massive and grotesque amounts of money for kicking a ball about,reading the news,taking their clothes off etc etc and virtually nobody says a word. Some MP claims for his/her lawn mower to be repaired and their is all this froth and indignation. I am not saying its right but please! MPs get what £64k a year?People get paid 10 times that for moving money around in the City.
There are a million and one vital issues to get animated about globally, this is not one of them.

Jane Ashby

I am not a fan of Kate Hoey. However, the Speaker of the House replied to her quite reasonable statement regarding the use of police resources to investigate the leak of expenses in a disgraceful manner. Having read Hansard for many years and watched Parliament too, I have never seen a Speaker behave so discourteously before. I do believe that Mr Martin has let down the prestigious office he holds and should be removed. You are quite right to sign the EDM - the office of Speaker matters. I feel quite ashamed of how the Speaker has handled the whole sorry saga of MP's expenses. He really is not in touch with the public mood. You are brave to acknowledge this and I laud your actions in signing the EDM.

I have never been so embarrassed in my life regarding actions of some Labour MP's regarding expenses. I am also extremely unhappy about the leadership of the party. I have supported the party for 44 years and for the first time ever I am considering whether the party deserves my support. I am looking at candidates outside of the main parties in the upcoming European and County Council elections. I am of an age where I believe that I must exercise my right to vote but do not feel able to support my party. I am ashamed of feeling this way but must register in some way my total disallusionment with the party and Gordon Brown.

this does not detract from my admiration of your actions and those of Gordon Prentice. Well done.

Grant Tucker

Paul you really are an MP of the people and not of your party, you were even mentioned on Daily Politics today. I have always respected you, but now I think your terrific. Urgent action needs to be taken against the speaker; Mr Martin is a shoddy, fumbling fool in the chair, and his lack of leadership with this expensives fiasco has brought out the worst in him with indivdual attacks. Douglas Carswell is another great MP and his book The Plan is excellent, it is good to see that there are still common sense politicians in the house that are there to serve the people. I will be printing this off and reading it to my politics class tommorrow.

Thank You Paul you really are an honourable man.

Chris

Paul, on this I totally disagree with you.
Why are you and Gordon defending the odious Kate Hoey?
She who writes her Tory trash for the Telegraph and of course tried to defend it (notice the press did not mention she writes for that right wing rag) in her silly comment.

What people forget is that regardless of the issues over expenses the Speaker and his staff have a responsibility for the information they hold. The fact is that tons of personal information, signatures, banking details etc etc were stolen and passed (sold?) to a national newspaper.
The Speaker had an obligation to refer that to the police.
As I understand it all these expenses were to be published in a few months. That some unsavoury person broke the law and the terms of their employment to give/sell documentation containing personal data to the press is unacceptable.

Kate Hoey has an agenda and it sure aint in the interests of the Labour party or Labour government.

I found it sickening that some Labour people are jumping to her defence. She who has on many occasions has called members of her own party 'bigots'and chairs an organisation, the Countryside Alliance, which has one aim which is the downfall of Labour.

After the hunt thugs invaded Parliament it was Hoey who went to court to speak for them. She is one nasty piece of work and she and her Telegraph buddies are agitators to try and bring about an early election.

DG

Great post today Paul, couldn't find a word I didn't like.

Do you really think there'll be prosecutions though? I just can't imagine it happening.

Paul Flynn

Thank you all very much for those comments.

The point that Patrick makes is a fair one. There cannot be one law for MPs who live partly on Government income support and the rest of the population, some of whom live entirely on income support. Ithinkthere may well be prosecutions for some of the 'flipping' activities that resulted in tax evasion.

patrick

HMRC
As stated before i believe that these latest expense scandals could be found in just about every work environment in Britain. The lust for money and consequent corruption sadly infects our entire species.
What i find interesting though is the way this one is panning out.
If the law is worth anything and people like Hazel Blears are found to have broken it then surely this is a matter for the crown prosecution service.
Should i falsify my accounts, fail to account for income on my bank statement or cannot produce reciepts for stock or expenses i am liable for investigation, prosecution and a jail sentence.
It's rather alarming but not suprising that MPS found guilty of 'breaking the rules' (which i think you will find is also breaking the law) face no criminal charges.

Is this how it works ?

HMRC - Hi Mrs Blears , how can i help?
Blears - In a spot of bother, you know usual shit, been caught out, what do you reckon?
HMRC - Well Hazel i can clearly see you are guilty of fraud but as you are in government and we are a government department ...umm? give me a minuite on this one.
Blears - Thanks John

Later on

John - Hi Hazi, had a chat with a few of the gang and we sort of kind of reckon that maybe you could go on tv and offer to give the money back.
Blears - Oh well done luv, do you really think i could get away with that?
John - Well i know that a self employed person would be jailed but in this case we would be sacked so yeah think so.

As ridiculous as the above is is it not what has happened over the last few days?

Jolly Roger

Well done Paul, my dear chap,
Noble minds have emerged from steaming crap.
The Motion proposed, pun intended,
Is long overdue and well commended.
The Speaker has simply had his day,
Yet will try to cling on to max-out his pay.
But before he's out on his maxed-out a*se,
Let's check his exe's under powerful glass.

Apart from his antics in the Speaker's chair,
He's troughed much more than can be called a fair share.
As he said to a certain well known MP.
"I'm in politics for what it owes me".
The quote can be found at Iain Dale,
Whose well placed sources rarely fail.
So 'bye-'bye Mick, we're not missing you already.
Kate Hoey for Speaker, a firm hand and steady.

And while you're in a Motional mood,
Any chance of another that'll do so much good?
How's about one that'll earn you a crown,
"A Vote of No Confidence in J. Gordon Brown"?
This would be the act of a Hero,
As Gordon's support approaches a zero.
Please help us now, Your Country Needs You,
Please help the hand that so generously feeds you.

Jon Worth

Ace, really ace! I'm very, very happy that you're taking this stand. No surprise that Gordon is in it with you... :-)

Kay Tie

Paul, you're my hero. The speaker needs to go.

I hope Kate Hoey can be dragged to the chair! (that would be funny, wouldn't it?)

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