Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A NEW POLITICAL RULE - A BOUGHT MP MUST COME WITH A RECEIPT.

Was Michael (not Mick) Martin from Anderston Glasgow (not the Gorbals) the 1st. Scottish/Irish, Catholic, working class speaker of the Commons in 300 years the subject of an establishment plot to get rid of him? At the time of his appointment he was opposed by the Tory old boys and the suggestion is that they have got their revenge, I believe he was but; to understand whether they could do such a thing it is perhaps helpful to try to understand how these people think, consider the following. As long as I’ve taken an interest in politics; Bernard Weatherill Tory MP has been the best speaker of the house, he was from the Weatherill Tailoring family of Saville Row; male members of the Royal Family were customers. Here is his C.V. enlisted as a private in the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry Regiment of the British Army, a few days after the start of World War II, Weatherill was commissioned into the 4th/7th Dragoon Guards in May 1941 and reached the rank of Captain three years After attending Malvern College. On entering the commons a Tory MP was overheard saying to a colleague when he saw him in the corridor of the house “good God they are allowing my tailor in here now what next” This is how they treat one of their own, what might their attitude have been to Michael Martin?

The Telegraph is outraged; the public are outraged; the Telegraph is vehemently anti Labour; should that matter? Well if you believe as I do that the Telegraph have ruthlessly exploited the issue to damage the Labour Govt. and assist the Tories; then yes it does. We are being exploited by the press; we are being used and I don’t like that; start with this question; if the expenses abuse is an all party issue i.e. no party is innocent then why was it not reported as such, why did we get 4 days of stories about the Govt. before the Tories were even mentioned, 4 days is a long time in this atmosphere to steal a march on your opponent which is what the Tories have done, a result for them and the right wing press, does no one else feel a bit used; a bit conned?

Being used by the Telegraph does not of course excuse the abuses uncovered and people will rightly pay the price for that, MP’s sign a declaration stating that their expenses are necessary to allow them to do their job. That signature also agrees that the Inland Revenue make the rules and Freedom of Information applies to them; this begs the question, how does a duck island, horse manure or payment for a non existent mortgage assist in carrying out Parliamentary duties? We should remember that not all Mp’s are ‘at it’ and those who are clean must be furious at being tarred with the same brush. Changes need to be made and will be made, there is no excuse for what has happened but we must keep a sense of proportion; there are people in this country who make MP’s look like amateurs; those with billions who avoid tax for a start, why do they escape such opprobrium, the Labour Govt. were right to bring in F.O.I. I hope they can find a way to use it on the super rich tax dodgers. This must not happen again, is it too much to ask that MP’s consider whether the item they are claiming for is really needed for the job, perhaps on the declaration which they sign the references to INLAND REVENUE AND FREEDOM OF INFORMATION should be bold, in italics and in a different colour.

I can’t see the point in making comparisons between sinners here there are too many and each party has them; except of course the SNP which I will come back to. Some are resigning because their health has suddenly deteriorated and some I suspect through sheer embarrassment and no doubt more will follow, claiming mortgage relief on a property with no mortgage is a crime and should be prosecuted along with any other law breaking. Those whom constituency parties feel badly let down by will be deselected but I predict that that will not be many, it’s been very damaging for each party and for the individual members who are not MP’s but life will go on. I think though that a Parliament populated by people like Esther Rantzen, Martin Bell and other 2 nd. rate entertainers would indeed be the last straw, would democracy survive that?

My distaste for the SNP is no secret so t wasn’t all bad news for me, I’m not referring to the fact that Salmond (the spiv), Robertson and MacNeil all SNP were up to their necks in it as well but; could you believe the devious and brazen attempt by (the spiv) to slither away from the whole affair, Labour? admitted guilt, Tory? admitted guilt, Lib. Dem.? admitted guilt, SNP? not guilty M’lord it was the WESTMINSTER system not us in the SNP, the system made Salmond (the spiv) claim the food allowance at WESTMINSTER when the house wasn’t sitting; It wasn’t Angus Robertson SNP MP who claimed 2nd. home expenses of £80,000 it was WESTMINSTER that made him do it, it wasn’t Angus MacNeil SNP MP who claimed £61,000 n 2nd. home expenses + a bar of chocolate £2 + a couple overnight stays in the Union Jack Club despite having a flat nearby, it was WESTMINSTER made him claim. You read that correctly he stayed n the Union Jack Club, a real nationalist would have slept in the gutter rather than a place like that, he has form attached to hotel rooms though hasn’t he.

So why the denial from the SNP? Is it stupidity, is it shame, is it fear or is it breathtaking arrogance? You decide, this will run and run.

34 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Terry,

I am interested in things a wee bit closer to home. I see my MP has been 'at it'.

Jim Sheridan Second Home Expenses

2004/5 £20,902
2005/6 £21,613
2006/7 £22,110
2007/8 £23.083

Including

£991.95 for memory foam mattress and ivory leather bed.
£699 sofa
£829 sofa bed
£219 coffee table
£199 table lamp
£359 wardrobe
£299 chest of drawers
£159 bedside cabinet
£109 mirror
£699.99 42inch plasma TV
£219.99 four year warranty


'Independent on Sunday 24/5/2009'

Perhaps he could explain the need for both an ivory leather bed and a sofa bed.

Wirth a bit of luck we should be able to get back some of the four year warrenty if he leaves office next year.

What do you think a £200 table lamp looks like ?

Alan said...

It's a conspiracy.
It was the ref.
He's on the take.
They always let Rangers off.

I can see where your coming from Terry.

Many of us have heard it all before.

David Duff said...

And of course it was the laxity of the officials in the Fees Office which allowed these ridiculous/criminal claims to be made and passed. Now, remind me, which officer of the Commons is in charge of the Fees Office ... no, don't tell me ... it'll come to me in a moment ...

Hemmerfru said...

I'm not Scottish, so the SNP's weaselling is more a source of amusement than outrage for me.

It's probably worth noting, though, that Michael Martin was a terrible speaker for more reasons than just his shoddy oversight of the expenses system. There's his partisan bias in the house, his involvement in the arrest of Damian Green and his own personal expenses (hiring Carter-Ruck on a £20,000 three month retainer in 2007, for example). Betty Boothroyd, also a Labour heavy-weight from a working-class background, had the respect of MPs because she did a good job. The same can't be said of Martin.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Anonymous) 26/05/09

This really is a pointless exercise for the reasons I outlined in my article, I am not about to get involved in discussing any individual, I have already stated that anyone who has broken the law should be dealt with by the police.

The behaviour of the SNP gives me the right to attack them for trying to lie their way out of any responsibility, have you anything to say about that?

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Alan) 07:40

I once heard two Rangers fans talking about that day’s game which they did not attend, fan 1/ “what was the score?” fan 2/ “nothing each” fan 1/ who missed the penalty?

Seriously though the SNP blaming WESTMINSTER for their claims takes the biscuit, or should that be ‘the chocolate bar’

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(David Duff) 08:38

Well that settles that then, it was Michael Martin who did it, David you should have been a lawyer.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Hemmerfru) 09:38

Michael Martin was undermined at every opportunity by the commons establishment; he is now being held responsible for the complete running of the place which was never the case.

The truth of the matter is that the office of speaker is largely ceremonial and every speaker relies heavily on advice from commons clerks and lawyers.

To suggest that he was responsible for running the house is disingenuous to say the least.

Hemmerfru said...

I didn't suggest he ran the house. I do, however, say that he's done a pretty shabby job of carrying out his limited duties.

I forgot to add his vehement opposition to allowing FOI requests to apply to MPs' expenses to the list of 'Why Michael Martin is a bad Speaker'. Though I suppose that's something that probably endeared him to most parliamentarians.

A comment on expenses vs. tax dodging. The expenses claims you and I both recognise as fraudulent (phantom mortgages and so on) are closer to tax evasion.

Tax dodgers are playing within the system: they've got their nose in the trough in the same way most MPs have - distastefully but not illegally. So they can't, and shouldn't, be punished through the courts.

It's the complexity of the current tax regime that allows them to escape payment through finding loop holes. I'm sure we'll see Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling introducing a simpler system in the near future, won't we?

David Duff said...

"Michael Martin was undermined at every opportunity by the commons establishment;"

That's odd, from what I read he succeeded in either sacking or forcing resignation from any of the officials who failed to agree with his views, including the man in the Fees Office who raised objections to the huge increase in hand-outs.

Oakwood said...

Councillor,


what is you view on the MP who received £2000 for electrical work but could not explain:-

what it was for
who did it
where he got the invoice.

The invoice in question had a phone number that did not exist, an address that did not exist and a company name that did not exist.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Hemmerfru) 27/05/09

“he's done a pretty shabby job of carrying out his limited duties”

I don’t agree; if you are referring to the official job description you would have an argument but I’m saying that his actual job; the tasks he was obliged to do on his own was to chair the meetings and dress up in a ridiculous costume and walk in parades which he did as well as any other speaker.

“Though I suppose that's something that probably endeared him to most parliamentarians”
You have just seen the light, well done.

“I'm sure we'll see Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling introducing a simpler system in the near future, won't we?”

Monitoring tax systems and rules about tax are a constant chore for the treasury it goes on all the time and the Govt. lawyers and finance advisors change the rules such as recently on banking, tax havens etc. and the greedy unscrupulous capitalist b******s employ batteries of ‘practised lawyers’ to wriggle out of them. That is the system we live in and it stinks.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(David Duff) 27/05/09

I have said to you before that you constantly display a complete ignorance of how Parliament works.

The speaker is a historical position he/she does not carry out the acts you describe on his/her own initiative.

The speaker’s actual tasks are to chair meetings and dress in a daft costume and walk in parades, which he did as well as any other speaker. You just don’t seem to be able to grasp it do you? Decisions such as those described by you are taken by the speaker acting on the advice of legal Parliamentary experts and senior officers and political colleagues.

Your accusations and understanding of the roll of speaker display a breathtaking ignorance.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(oakwood) 27 05 09

“claiming mortgage relief on a property with no mortgage is a crime and should be prosecuted along with any other law breaking. Those whom constituency parties feel badly let down by will be deselected but I predict that that will not be many”
This is a quote frrom the original article and I believe that this covers it or am I missing something. I have also stated quite clearly that I am not getting into individual cases because it would be; given the circumstances; pointless.

I hope you didn’t spend too much time and energy working on your “cunning plan”

Hemmerfru said...

Looks like we'll have to agree to disagree over Michael Martin. I think his partisan performances in the HoC alone make him a bit rubbish. If he wasn't able to manage the system he was in charge of, or preferred to cede resposibilities to advisors, he was definitely over-promoted and incompetent.

"the greedy unscrupulous capitalist b******s"
If they're paying the tax required of them under the current tax system (i.e., not illegally avoiding tax) then they're not being unscrupulous. I pay income tax at the 22% rate through PAYE because that's the absolute minimum the system requires I contribute - I could give more to HMRC, but why should I? I doubt anyone gives more to the state in tax than they absolutely have to. Do you?

I'm not saying businesses or individuals should be taxed more or less - that's an ideological debate. I'm saying that whatever level of tax you believe is fair should be clearly and simply laid out in law. Obviously it can't be as crude as a flat percentage, but it could be a lot more straightforward than the current regime, which you obviously don't find satisfactory.

David Duff said...

"By convention, the Speaker is Chairman of the Commission, the body responsible for oversight of the very substantial budgets voted to the House each year, as well as the policy framework within which the budgets are spent."

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200001/cmselect/cmproced/40/1012308.htm


"At the same time, there has been something close to a backroom revolt as a trail of senior House of Commons officials have resigned because, they say, they can no long take the endless disputes with the Speaker, and with his wife.
Yesterday, the latest twist in the saga emerged in the form of Jill Pay, the House of Commons' first female Serjeant at Arms.
Mrs Pay replaces the highly popular Major General Peter Grant Peterkin, who summarily retired in December even before a successor had been appointed.
According to colleagues, he stepped down after just three years because of interminable rows and disagreements with Mr Martin and his wife."

"The Speaker is understood to have seen his retinue as 'too posh' and insufficiently respectful.
One of them, his then diary secretary Charlotte Every, even had the temerity to call him Mr Martin instead of Mr Speaker.
Charlotte - large, blonde, and indeed, "frightfully posh but really lovely with it" say friends - was the first to go.
Eighteen months later, it was the turn of Sir Nicolas Bevan, the Speaker's Private Secretary and most senior advisor, who was allegedly forced out for being "too pompous".
There was uproar among some Whitehall officials when Mrs Martin was given the right to vet his successor, thereby enabling a woman of no official position to assist in choosing one of the country's most senior civil servants.
In the event, Mary Martin's intervention didn't help much.
His successor, Roger Daw, was to ultimately suffer a similar fate after Mr Martin complained that he burst into his study without permission and failed to advise him on matters of ceremonial dress."

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-511855/Mr-Mrs-Gorbals-king-queen-Commons.html

Allan said...

Isn't Will Lewis (the editor of the Daily Torygraph) a pal of Browns, and a drinking buddy of Charlie Whelan's and Damian McBride?

Funny that,

Bert Rodinsky said...

Every time he opened his mouth he proved he was not fit to be the Speaker. The attitude he displayed towards the public anger proved he was not fit to hold any public office. He is just another ex-union parasite who could not get such a well paying job anywhere else. Just like most of the current political class.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(David Duff)
"By convention, the Speaker is Chairman of the Commission, the body responsible for oversight of the very substantial budgets voted to the House each year, as well as the policy framework within which the budgets are spent."

I’ve tried my best to get you to be realistic to no avail; here is my last attempt, if what you have said above was the way Parliament worked; how did speaker martin survive for so long?
You really ought to at least try to make some sense.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Hemmerfru) 28/05/09

“he was definitely over-promoted and incompetent”

If he really was expected to do all the things you claim then you would have a point but; even then he would be no different from any other speaker, that’s why they are surrounded by lawyers clerks advisors etc, just like senior ministers.

“If they're paying the tax required of them under the current tax system (i.e., not illegally avoiding tax) then they're not being unscrupulous”
This sounds like “I did nothing illegal” where did we hear that lately?

Do you normally use so many words to “agree to differ?”

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Allan) 28/05/09
Tony Benn was a friend of Ted Heath and Enoch Powell; what’s your point?

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Bert Rodinsky) 11:57
And you sir are just another wannabee political commentator who hasn’t got a clue about how politics and the commons works.

Anonymous said...

So it was all a Tory plot & Speaker Martin was pure as the driven snow?

You obviously are also an avid believer in Santa Claus & the Tooth Fairy.

Sorry to burst your bubble but Speaker Martin was a troughing pig for starters, with expenses that would not have stood up to scrutiny. He also spent taxpayers' money trying to stop MPs expenses being made public (no transparancy here). Oh, and remind me again, who was in charge of the Fees Office?

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Anonymous) 30/05/09

If you actually believe that Speaker Martin decided to spend tax payers money preventing MP’s expenses being made public you are a naive fool, if you think further that the speaker knows the detail of what goes on in the fees office you ought to answer your door and let Santa Claus in.

The latest rumblings are no shock to me but obviously will be to someone as easily duped as you.

Michael Martin was allegedly leant on by 'very senior political sources' to try and cover up MPs' expenses.

Veteran Labour MP Sir Stuart Bell who sits on the ruling House of Commons Commission said the Commons Speaker was put under 'severe pressure' to launch a doomed High Court bid to keep MPs' claims a secret.

Perhaps you think that the high powered senior political figures were saying, “go on Michael bring down the careers of senior members of all parties, it will be great fun, just how stupid are you.

Hemmerfru said...

"Do you normally use so many words to “agree to differ?”"

I only used one paragraph to agree to differ...

"This sounds like “I did nothing illegal” where did we hear that lately?"

There are important differences between taxation and expenses:

i) People who pay tax don't get to set the system themselves to be maximally beneficial: the requirements, enforcable by law, are set by the body which collects tax revenue. The expenses system was set and regulated by the beneficiaries of the system.

ii) Paying tax isn't a moral duty - again, it's a requirement with a strict legal framework governing how much you must pay. So, taxpayers have no duty to pay more than the tax they're legally required to, but MPs did have a duty not to make claims which weren't "wholly, exclusively and necessarily incurred for the performance of a Member’s parliamentary duties".

iii) Expenses are about taking money from the state rather than not giving it to the state. No one can profit from exploiting the holes in the tax system: they can just lose less into the coffers of the Treasury. MPs' expenses allowed individuals to make money.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Hemmerfru) 08:57

“Paying tax isn't a moral duty”

Moral duties are not enforceable in law but there are still people illegally breaking tax laws to the tune of billions, that’s immoral and illegal and costing far more than our MP’s.

When it comes to fraud; tax avoidance and financial crime we live in a corrupt society; it’s called Capitalism ; and the really rich make the MP’s look like amateurs.

Anonymous said...

"When it comes to fraud; tax avoidance and financial crime we live in a corrupt society; it’s called Capitalism ; and the really rich make the MP’s look like amateurs."

Is that a valid reason for MP's to mimic them? When the 'really rich' rip off the people its 'financial crime', when MP'S and political bureaucrats do it its 'amateurism'. Are you on the meths? I expect a stock-exchange parasite to rip off the system, I expect something a bit different from my elected representatives. Clean out your stables or F-off, we're sick of the so-called 'politcal class', and their second-rate apologists.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Anonymous) 16:15

“Is that a valid reason for MP's to mimic them?”

No; who said it was?

“When the 'really rich' rip off the people its 'financial crime', when MP'S and political bureaucrats do it its 'amateurism'.”

Another fabrication; who said this one?

You are either spectacularly stupid or you are a liar; or both.

Anonymous said...

Can't you read your own writing? If you say that that 'really rich' swindlers make MP's 'look like amateurs', all you are saying is that MP's are 'amateur' thieves and the 'really rich' are more adept ones. This is a distinction of kind not of category. Presumably you would wish to say that there are 'some' or perhaps that 'most' MP's are not merely 'amateur' swindlers. But this is not what your statement means. If you can't compose what you actually intend that's your problem not mine.
As it stands all your statement actually means is that MP'S only swindle a little bit. Hardly an ethically coherent position. Are you only against 'big' thefts?

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Anonymous) 01/06/09

I have long held the view that a descent in to the jungle of semantics is an argument lost and this gibberish does not persuade me otherwise; I doubt if there are many people who have difficulty following my drift except those of course who deliberately don’t, like you.

Let me make it easier for you; I don’t condone MP’s cheating on expenses; I believe that there are people who cheat to acquire money which makes the MP’s expenses look trivial; that however does not make them acceptable.

Perhaps you would like to comment without all the crap designed to confuse; this is not complicated, drop the synthetic rage, it’s pitiful.

Anonymous said...

Attend a course on basic comprehension, it'll do you good. I'm not so sure that as 'many people' are as dim (a typical 'most people are just like me' idiocy)as you want to assume.
Words are odd things, they often betray meaning not overtly intended. I regard your statement about 'amateurs' as a linguistic version of parapraxis.
Like a lot of Labour people you seem to think that persistant self-regard is the basis for ideological dominance. A notion that is now clearly over, despite the endless sarcasm and moral postuering. I want to thank the Labour Party for making themselves unelectable. Well done!

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Anonymous) 07:30

If you are going to lecture people in such an affected way should you not at least use a spell checker?

I feel reassured; even in today’s febrile political climate that you are not voting labour.

Anonymous said...

I feel reassured; even in today’s febrile political climate that you are not voting labour.

Yeah, me an few others, hee hee!

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Anonymous) 05/06/09
I don’t know about the others but getting your vote would worry me greatly.