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.