Monday, 25 May 2009

Normal service temporarily suspended

If you live outside the UK you may not have heard about the latest scandal to come out of the Houses of Parliament. At least, I suppose that I'm hoping you haven't. It's all just so... embarrassing. What on earth will people think?

Let's pretend you haven't heard about it. Amazingly enough, it turns out that a large number of our MP's have been fiddling their expenses, some of them in quite a grand and impressive way. Who would have thought it? Politicians? Untrustworthy? Oh dear me, surely not...

But yes. It seems that items like home cinema's have been found to be essential for certain Honourable Members to do their jobs properly, and have been charged back to the tax payer. As have massage chairs, custom-built wooden homes for ducks, renovated moats around manor houses, swimming pool boilers, hanging baskets and pot-plants, £87,000 worth of furniture for one gentleman's London residence, and - oh, the list is endless. And sickening.

Needless to say this has resulted in a great deal of media coverage, and great deal of 'outraged from Purley' type comments from the general public. It has also led to a general air of depression in the House of Commons (poor diddums...), and a vast amount of denial, wispy prevarication, and an increasing amount of blood-letting by the esteemed heads of our major political parties, all of which are equally implicated in this mess.

But really.

Isn't it time that this all got sorted out and we moved on? I mean, it's not as if claiming expenses is a practice peculiar to our Parliament; every business in the land has a structure to deal with it, and there are computer programmes out there that are more or less fool-proof. Bin the antiquated system currently in place, prosecute those guilty of fraud, slap the wrists of those Honourable Members who were in fact anything but, remove any chance of their being re-elected, and let's stop all this (self)righteous outrage.

I'm not for a moment suggesting that we should let those guilty beggars off the hook, but whilst all this white noise is going on isn't it distracting us from the fact there are so many other things to get heated about? And for far better reason?

Let's see, just for starters, close to home we have the imbalance in men & women's pay scales as so interestingly discussed by Amity on her Noble Savage blog recently. We have the parlous state of our National Health Service. We have the fact that there are three million children living in poverty in Great Britain. THREE MILLION! And we like to think we're a first world country.

Further afield girls are being murdered in Afghanistan for having the temerity to go to school. Women who have the courage to stand up to rapists in Pakistan are prevented from speaking out about their experiences if their attackers are - in extremely rare cases - convicted. In China parents have been sold formula milk so polluted that their babies are disfigured and handicapped for life. Children orphaned or separated from the parents in war zones across the world are prey to all sorts of horrific predators. And so on...

So yes, be cross. Be angry about what's happened in parliament. Get it changed. But let's not forget that whilst our MP's bleat about their poor level of renumeration (which, by they way, they may have a point about - but which doesn't mean claiming for a bathplug is acceptable) there are things going on in the world that are far more deserving of being the subject of our outrage.

Rant over.

Fluffy bunnies and potty training will return tomorrow...


  1. I get your point but it is bloody annoying since most of them prattle on as if they are near-saints. You'd all better be careful tho' - it's starting to sound a bit like CHicago. Once you find out the Unions are all taking back-handers, it's all over!

  2. We have heard lots about it here in Oz too - not that our bunch of reprobates are much better. Also had many outraged phone conversations with my Mum who is still in the UK. BUT, yes! I agree with you PM, sack 'em, prosecute 'em or whatever and get on with the real problems in the world and I don't necessarily mean the flying pig flu that has our lot in such an uproar at the moment either!

  3. Hmmm, corrupt government officials is a speciality for us in South Africa. We, the tax payers, have paid for many an unwarrented expense. The difference here is that, when they are caught, they just shrug their shoulders and carry on. Not even pretend remorse. That's just governments for you, too much power for men to handle! As for all the other problems, well, we could have built desperately needed housing or schools with the money used for JZ'z inauguration dinner. I think that perhaps, since it is money that is needed to sort out all the other problems, their fraud is far worse, as it takes help away from those who need it most in order for those who take it to have even more stuff they don't really need! Sorry for rambling, I think it makes sense :)

  4. I agree completely. It's getting to the point where it's embarrassing, all the energy and outrage we're exerting over a bloody EXPENSES scandal. Just goes to show that many people don't care about the issues, they only care about what their tax money is being 'wasted' on, like MPs' expenses and benefits "scroungers."

  5. They are MP's. Did we really expect anything else?

    Robin Hood and the Sheriff of Nottingham was written for a purpose.....nothing has changed since Medieval times!

    Great Post xx

  6. We've heard all about it in the Netherlands too and I think the British taxpayer has every right to be outraged when he 's being made to pay for someone's fraudulent expenses. It's about time that someone gets very angry about this and it deserves all the press it gets. But yes, you are also right that we shouldn't loose sight of the bigger and more important issues, but then again, most people feel helpless in the sight of them and don't know what to do and how to fight them. Some problems seem too huge for us to solve and are very frustrating and mind boggling. Maybe that's why we get so outraged at something we may be able to solve.

  7. The way the media is whipping it up does not help at all - yes, it's bad, yes they should be held to account....but let's move on....preferably before the elections in June...otherwise some even less savoury and honorable 'politicians', strike that, thugs, will be making gains in the polls. Better the devil you know and all that. I remember the French voters going to the polls with pegs on their noses because they really didn't want to vote for Chirac, but if they didn't Le Pen would be victorious.

    Mya x

  8. EPM, what, you mean that's supposed to be a secret?

    Sharon, swine flu has gone a bit quiet right now. I imagine the politicians are praying for more news on it to take them out of the picture...

    MdP, it does make sense!

    Amity, I guess that everybody loves the chance to show a bit of righteous outrage. But as you say, enough now, please!

    RM, expect, no. Hope for?

    Irene, sadly I think the gravy train runs everywhere, just in different guises. Once this one gets sorted no doubt there'll be another one leaving shortly.

    Mya, very very good point. I just hope that enough people realise that to make a difference.

  9. Similar stuff happens over here and while I understand the need to move on to other, more important issues, it is obvious that they are not focusing on those issues, but rather focusing on their own comfort. So, referring to this situation could also bring awareness to the other situations as well. Like, one could say: "Look at these morons...stealing money from the public when they should be more worried about starving children in their country! Asses!" Oops....'scuse the language. Apparently I'm a little heated on this too.

    How can there be so many children in poverty?! Argh!

  10. Im thinking of becoming an MP personally, although I'd have to get the duck pond filled in to prevent the kids from drowning...

  11. Lisa, it's horrific, isn't it, the poverty figure?

    Z, (hope you don't mind the abbrev?), don't worry about filling the pond in. Apparantly the ducks never liked it anyway... (and are all going to vote for the Green Party at the next election in any case).

  12. I'm thinking that the dear Queen should call them all in, tell them off (no one likes to be told off by Grandma) and then dissolve Parliament. Start game. Just a thought from a non-Brit. :)

  13. This is like the story that won't die. Every time I check the BBC website it's the headline (I live in California). I can't imagine how barraged you feel in the UK.

    Almost as bad as Arnold Schwarzeneggar building a MASSIVE mansion down the road from us when the State he governs is bankrupt.


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