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March 30, 2009

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patrick

A group of outraged villagers decided to protest about a local price hike in their bus fares by taking passive action "we'll show them, we will go down to the bus stop but we won't get on."
When they realised that they were not travelling to their respected destinations but were still at the bus stop mostly miserable , sometimes wet, they then decided to lobby the council and MP until a compromise was reached.
The doors to every British political party are wide open for anyone to join, protest, challenge, etc.
The problem with a large part of the British electorate is that they expect everything , for someone else to do it whilst contributing very little.
There is corruption in the HOC as of the rest of our sick society. The only positive way to change anything is to become politically active yourselves.

HuwOS

"The only answer to all of these shennanigans is to spoil your ballot at the next election. Let's send these people a clear vote of "no confidence" in them, the system, and their disrespect to us the voter."

Which would indeed be a forceful way of saying, ignore me and those like me,
we are not just fools, like the very large
numbers (30-50%) of people who don't vote
"because it wouldn't make any difference"
(when a party can have a majority with 30% of the vote)
but a special class of idiot who actually
wastes their own time going to the polling station and ensuring their ballot has no effect on the election, and think it sends some kind of political message, possibly to aliens.

Paul Flynn

No Patrick. Despair is premature.There is still idealism even in the high places that will be determing the results of the G20 today. There will also be high idealism among the protesters too.

patrick

Somebody asked me a long time ago , is it possible to produce fresh dung from a wooden horse?
In the same vain , is it possible to produce principled leaders, politicians, bankers , judges etc from a society infested with greed and selfish objectives?

The 'disabled' chap across the road that has to have home help getting in the bath and special allowances and cars but somebody forgot to tell the bowls team where he stars as the Captain.
Every work environment i have been in theft from the employer has been regarded as normal etc.
From the unemployed to the monarchy, lords and bankers we are one sorry bunch of people.
Whilst we carry on exterminating just about every other living species on the planet the best we can do is fight about who the biggest crooks are.
Whoever runs our country will have to be as corrupt and self-serving as the public demand them to be.

valleylad

My plan as well Paul. I dream that more spoilt ballots will be cast than legitimate ones, sending a clear message of contempt for which ever of the purple parties (how exactly do you distinguish between them) is elected.

Paul

The only answer to all of these shennanigans is to spoil your ballot at the next election. Let's send these people a clear vote of "no confidence" in them, the system, and their disrespect to us the voter. Go to the poll and cross out all their names, the vote is counted and noted. If by some chance we could get a good percentage of dissenters it might just make them change for the better. Please do not hold your breath, though.

Paul Flynn

DG The Daily Mail is not right. Their campaign has been full of smears, half truths and lies. MPs wages and salaries should not be decided by MPs and have rarely been settled that way.

Paul Flynn

Many MPs in the past have rented flats in Dolphin Square - a 15 minute walk from the Commons. The cost to the taxpayer from the three options does not vary much. That is between renting, hotels and paying mortgage interest. A serious effort was made to buy the HQ of London County Council when Thatcher closed it down. It came to nothing even though that woud have been the preferred solution. It has since been adapted into blocks of flats.

DG

Seriously though, every company I've ever worked for has manged to put in place a system that can differentiate between a legitmate expense and taking the proverbial.

Why can't Parliament manage the same?

And (I never thought I'd say this, but...) the Daily Mail is right - fourty thousand pounds is too much. The House sits for, what, 200 days per year? That's £200 per night. You can get a nice 4* hotel in London for less than £140 most of the time, even at short notice. Probably much less than that if the House negotiated a rate with one of the big chains.

I can think of no better way to further annoy the electorate than to announce that all MPs need twice the yearly wage of an average Joe because they can't be trusted to only claim legitimate expenses.

valleylad

I'm sorry but if you think any backbench MP is worth more than 100k a year you're deluded.
1. Return MP's salaries to the real world and link rises to those in median income. 65K plus light touch supervision of 100K+ expenses is way out. Halving those figures (with expenses being audited) would be generous.
2. Whilst I've thoroughly enjoyed Smith's squirming (couldn't happen to a nicer women :) ) I'm far more concerned with her paying hubby 40k a year. That must be close to double market rates. She disgusts me. Hanging would be too kind.
3. I'm looking forward to more revelations, and care not a jot for the political affiliations of any mole, as Smith would say, if MP's have nothing to hide they have nothing to fear.

DG

From the City of London website:

"The City of London looks after more than 2,700 properties across six London boroughs - Hackney, Islington, Lambeth, Lewisham, Southwark and Tower Hamlets. It also has two housing estates - Golden Lane and Middlesex Street - within the Square Mile itself and manages the private residential Barbican Estate."

What's wrong with using one of those options? :P

Paul Flynn

Thanks Political Umpire. Very reasonable solution. This is very likely to be the solution. It was suggested by three named Tory MPs last week and one 'un-named' Labour one. For their pains the Mail headline the story as an attempt for MPs to grab an extra £40,000.

Political Umpire

Paul, there is a simple answer to the tawdry affair regarding expenses, which of course has been going on very much longer and involving many more serious claims than Ms Smith's farce. No-one is ever going to agree on what constitutes a 'legitimate expense'; whether the 'John Lewis' list should be the Ikea list etc etc. Some will always be better at milking the system than others. Further, it costs a lot of money to police the system.

Here's an answer in one fell swoop (I don't claim originality for this btw, Jamie Whyte amongst others made it in the Times a while ago). Decide how much 'legitimate expenses' seem to be claimed each year. Round it up or down. (Say £40k for argument's sake.) Then add it to MPs existing salaries and scrap all expenses. That way MPs will be free to spend it how they like - cab fares, IT equipment, lodging at relatives' homes, chowing down in Whitehall restaurants, hiring staff, obtaining internet connections, whatever. No-one would interfere with the decisions, no administration costs, no more ammo for Fleet St. Economists would approve as they would presume that it would be more efficiently appropriated, since individuals would have to live with the decisions they made rather than just having to fire them off to the approval body and hope they get through.

Out of London MPs would complain that they were being discriminated against, because they would have much greater travel and accommodation costs (though property prices in London historically, and indeed the general cost of living in London would offset that slightly). If it was decided that they needed a London home, then how about an apartment building being purchased/built in Westminster that would be available for MPs who live outside the M25? Again, same deal for all, transparent (and fixed, or at least known, costs) and no chance of fiddling. Besides, with video conferencing, email and the internet, there must be a reduced need for MPs to be in London (or anywhere) nowadays.

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