Wednesday, May 13, 2009


Room for one more snout in the trough?

At the moment, the papers are full of damaging revelations about how British MPs have been going nuts with their expense accounts. A full disclosure of MPs' expenses claims was due to be published shortly, but a leaked copy made it into the hands of the Telegraph and now the swill has hit the fan.

Righteous indignation is the order of the day: MPs are protesting that everything was done within the rules and demanding that the mole (whomsoever he or she may be) is found and persecuted (prosecuted, sorry), the headlines of the papers have involved little other than MPs trying to claim for their Christmas decs for a week or so and, while no one reads papers any more, people are generally noticing that there's a bit of a fuss about something, and who would have thought that politicians could be such a bunch of crooks?

One of the main issues is how MPs (ab)use their second home allowance. Each MP living outside London is entitled to up to £24,000 to obtain and maintain a second property, ideally so they can have a place to stay in London and easy access to the House of Commons.

MPs have to designate what their second property is, but they can change this as often as they like. Some people have been designating their family home as the second property and blowing the budget on a loft conversion, some have been using it to do up houses, then sell them on for a profit.

Kudos to the highest claimant one Eric Joyce, MP for Falkirk in Scotland: despite using up his second home allowance (therefore, by implication, having access to a place to stay in London) he still managed to claim over £40,000 in annual travel expenses, which makes you wonder how (as well as why) he was travelling.

This was tens of thousands more than MPs for surrounding constituencies, which makes you think that Falkirk must have a really expensive bus service.


Naturally, I want in.

The problem is, I'm not affiliated to any major political party and I don't have time to write my own manifesto. My only policy so far is that every house in the country should own a copy of Moon Safari but, as those nearest and dearest to me point out, that's probably already the case.

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...better get my copy of Moon Safari sometime soon then!
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