(image illustrates hedge trimming around an MP’s helipad)
The thing that hasn’t been mentioned to any extent, in the recent MP’s expenses sage, is the nonchalant reliance on the State.
When the long term unemployed “sign-on”, they are considered “benefit scroungers”, yet for the life of me, after 20 years fairly close observation (and occasional participation) in the political process – I cannot see the difference, between this term of abuse for the proven needy and the self administration of funds to MP’s by way of supplemental income.
One MP appeared on the news to say that a constituent of hers had complained to her that she had had a formal request to the UK “Social Fund” rejected. The Social Fund is a means testing agency of the Department of Work and Pensions, which administers small loans and money gifts for the purchase of essential items. In this instance, the essential item under consideration was a bed and mattress, for a claimant with a long term health problem – the mattress was allowed, but not the bed. So – the message is clear: we elect our officials to represent our interests in matters of local and national affairs. In the conduct of their office, they see fit to “self police” their remuneration in kind – as they are not directly responsible for their pay increases. They have cultivated a ‘nod and wink’ acceptance of incidental purchases that have only to satisfy an internal auditing committee, that they have been “wholly, exclusively and necessarily incurred for the purposes of performing their parliamentary duties”.
Thus, the cleaning of a moat (as there is no one else around to do it, the MP in question being indisposed in London, performing his Parliamentary duty)….the purchase of an elephant themed lamp, a bag of manure; the maintenance of underground pipes servicing a tennis court….all these items no doubt satisfy the House rules in their incurrance. The list goes on….and on. This is why this type of exposure can and will never again happen. It brings our Parliament and our representatives into shame. The petty, penny pinching, self betterment – clearly at the expense of other Public Servants – has to end. Above and beyond this though, is a culture of dependency that has soaked its way into every aspect of British life…