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April 21, 2009


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Jolly Roger

Come off it Patrick, me old son.
The Mail just couldn't afford me, mun.
You talk of the Times and Mail as liars,
What about Blunkett, Blair and Byers?
Stones and glasshouses come to mind
When dealing with the politically purblind.
Gordon's latest expenses call,
Will hardly reduce the uptake at all.

With reference to our gracious host.
Who has been blessed with my words much more than most,
I'm aware of his comments on various media,
And commend his views on the expenses procedure.
Not for Paul, flash cars and bling,
He probably picks up pieces of string.
His reputation for being frugal,
Is easily confirmed by reference to Google.

Kay Tie

"A new myth is born."

It's going to be this way: the 'narrative' has changed, and whatever Brown says people don't want to listen. He's lost the right to be heard. It was like this for John Major at the end.

Paul Flynn

Is there any hope of the truth getting through?

Today's Times main headline is about '£150 EXTRA a day' the Mail 'an EXTRA £200' a day' for MPs. Both headlines are lies. The whole point of the Brown proposals is that the total claims in future will be 'less generous' i.e 'not a penny extra'. A headline saying 'MPs to lose right to claim £23,000' would have been a truthful account of the PM's proposal.

A new myth is born.



Very daily mailesque!

It must have past you by that the author of this blog has been on radio 4, 5live and in many newspapers leading the charge for reform.........

Jolly Roger

And now the end is near,
It's time to draw my John Lewis curtain.
My friend, I'll tell you this, I've got a receipt,
I'm pretty sure, in fact, I'm certain.
My allowance is always full,
I never pay to drive the highway.
I want more, much more than this,
I want it my way.

Regrets? I just don't do,
Or at least none I'd care to mention,
I did what I had to do, there's no expense that needs exemption.
I filled out my expenses form, each maxed-out claim along the byway.
And more, much than this, is coming my way.

Yes there were claims, I kept from you,
I claimed as much as I could screw.
I troughed as much as I could snout,
And there's no way I'll spit it out.
I troughed it all and I've got the gall.
And I'll do it my way.

I've claimed, I've laughed, I've cried,
Down to the bank, there's no way I'm losing.
Gordon wants to change the rules, I don't find it that amusing.
To think he'd do all that.
And now I'll say, not in a shy way,
Oh not, oh no not me, I want it my way.

But what is an MP, what has he got?
If not expenses, then not a lot,
To claim whatever I feel, what the Hell, it's no big deal.
The record shows, I've been exposed, and now it's cry-day.


The Budget tomorrow will have to be exceptional otherwise we'll all be sharing the pain for many years to come - and the only bounce from the G20 will be a dead cat one ..
I'm afraid that the tax payer will indeed be the 'payer' for the way the public finances have not been controlled over the last few years - its just a question oh how much extra tax and where the cuts will have to fall - tell us anything else and I know that Brown and Darling are away with the fairies (and we know how the Irish are these days)

In 1997 Labout were handed an economy that worked - what are they going to hand over to the next government when Priidence udence gets his marching orders

All I can think of is 'what a wasted opportunity'

Kay Tie

Hey, Jolly Roger's got some competition. And musical too:


Hit the road, Jacq!


Good post today!
It's high time to also reform the 195 Civil servants, council leaders etc on obscene wages and pensions.
As i said previously, each year council services are cut (lack of funds...HA) council tax increases above inflation but the leaders get rises above inflation.

Try and work that one out?


I think the employer should care because it doesn't make sense to pay someone £120 (for example) for subsistance and meals if they grab a sandwich for lunch then stay with a family member for the night. It creates a "something for nothing" culture and again lets expenses be used as a top-up to salary, which is part of what's been objected to.

Plus I suspect it won't be good for the environment as a hoard of MPs (present company excluded of course) suddenly start travelling down to Westminister more frequently in order to pick up their paycheck.

"It's not as common as it might be because El Revenue is a pain in the neck for giving approval to such systems"

Assuming they have a good reason for not giving approval to such systems (perhaps a naive assumption, I really don't know) and assuming that MPs have no trouble getting this approval, will this not result in a lot of companies who've previously applied and been turned down feeling a bit hard done by and throwing "one rule for them, one rule for us" type accusations around?

Paul Flynn

The flat rate suggestion is sensible and good for the environment. Now a maximum allowance is an incentive to claim up to that level. The maximum becomes the minimum.

That results in over consuming.
A 'flat rate' which is fixed at a lower 'less generous' level will encourgae MPs to live withing their reduced means. It also fits in with the reality that the expenses level has increased as compensation for repeated salary increases that have been below the level of inflation.

I am hopeful that MPs will accept this and get it off the agenda even though the damage done is probably indelible. This is genuine fundamental reform. The sooner it comes in the better.

Kay Tie

"Still sounds ridiculous - surely claims should be for you spend, not for what you might have spent?"

A per diem says "we'll pay for a reasonable standard for hotel, meal, travel; if you slum it then that's your business".

Quite frankly, why should the employer care? If he merely capped the hotel etc. then you'd just go as close to the maximum anyway. He's not losing. Nor is the Revenue. So why have all the paperwork and time to fill out bits of paper, arguments with HR about telephone kiosks and the Tube not giving receipts, etc.?


Still sounds ridiculous - surely claims should be for you spend, not for what you might have spent? I can see that flat rate might be more cost effective than policing the system, but I think the principal is worth paying for.

Kay Tie

"This flat rate thing sounds ridiculous, if I (or anyone I know) had to make an overnight stay and asked for flat-rate expenses with no receipts, we'd be laughed out of the office."

Quite a few companies operate a per diem expenses system. It's not as common as it might be because El Revenue is a pain in the neck for giving approval to such systems. It's more common in the USA because the IRS is less of a pain in the butt on this topic.


I still don't see why the MPs can't do the same as everyone else - you get your salary, and you can claim expenses for which you have a receipt and a proper justification. Parliament only sits for 165 days a year, so I can't see the need to have a second home at all - MPs should just pick where they live (either London or the constituency, don't really care either way) and then stay in hotels when they need to be in the other place (providing a valuable boost to the local economy) and have a reasonable subsistance allowance.

This flat rate thing sounds ridiculous, if I (or anyone I know) had to make an overnight stay and asked for flat-rate expenses with no receipts, we'd be laughed out of the office.

Kay Tie

"Not only will payments be fully transparent but details must be provided for hours worked and duties performed."

I can just see MPs clocking on and off. Like they do in the European Parliament: just long enough to claim the attendance allowance! But of course it's verboten to discuss this, as the following report from German RTL TV shows:


And of course you could have MPs being forced to give up their fingerprints to use for the clocking in system. It's certainly upsetting the rail unions:


You'll need a lot of luck to persuade turkeys to vote for Christmas - even if the barn needs cleaning of such huge quantities of guano that even Hercules redirecting the Thames wouldn't clean out.

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