The Futility Monster

He'll pointlessly derive more enjoyment out of your resources than you

Posts Tagged ‘expenses fiddling’

Why Laws Had To Go

Posted by The Futility Monster on May 31, 2010 @ 09:49

I'm sure we'll see this again, regardless...

I have been pretty strident with my arguments regarding why David Laws had to go. Until now, none of them have been posted here, though I posted these comments elsewhere.

I’m surprised at just how poor the judgement of my fellow Lib Dems has been. That many of us couldn’t see what was blindingly obvious because we’re loving being in government, or distracted by other agendas, however unsettling the “outing” nature of this case was, is a sad example of just how “insider” some of my party have become already.

Let me try one final angle.

Picture the scene.

It’s a random Northern rough city. Select a rough-as-dogs couple. Very working class. Very common.

They dream of owning their own house one day, so sold were they on the Thatcherite dream of a property-owning democracy. They want a small, modest, property. It might not even be in a nice area. So what, they just want some place to call their own, without the council house green guttering. They’d prefer a tasteful pebbledashing instead. I say.

The couple are not married, but have been living together for some nine years. Only one of the couple works. The other stays at home and looks after their three children, one of whom already has an ASBO for loitering just a little too long in various neighbouring yards. Note: yard. There are no gardens in Slumland.

Imagine too that we are before the housing bubble. Mortgages were free and aplenty. Questions were not asked. 125% LTV? You got it!

The banks were falling over themselves to offer the working half of the couple a mortgage, despite his gross income of just £16k. But being moderately sensible, they knew they couldn’t afford to buy the £200k house that would be of sufficient size to handle the large, and presumably growing, litter of children.

Then, the eureka moment!

The couple separate. The working partner goes and buys a property, convincing Bradford & Bingley that his madcap scheme of Buying-to-Let will be totally sustainable on his miserable income. B&B didn’t exactly mind, cos they were planning on parcelling up this potential bad debt into a million pieces and selling them as Triple A rated derivatives or whatever shit the banks were up to. Win-win!

The working partner places his house on the market for letting. All of a sudden, he receives an inquiry. It seems his former partner now needs somewhere to live, as news of a fourth child on the way is enough to give her priority due to her soon to be seriously overcrowded council house. Well, it just so happens that he has the right place for her. And better still, he accepts DSS tenants!

The council signs off on the move, agreeing to pay 80% of the monthly rent. The child-rearing partner moves into the property, and then, all of a sudden, there is a reconciliation of their relationship. The working partner decides to move back in, though, naturally, he keeps his name off all documentation.

What is wrong with this situation?

Two people pretending not to be in a relationship for the purposes of taking money from the taxpayer, when they clearly are, is fraud.

Were my fictional couple to be exposed, the book would be thrown at them, and rightly so. Such a calculating scheme of redistributing taxpayer’s money would very probably result in jail time. A benefit cheat of the highest order. Financing their living off the back of the state.

David Laws must have known exactly what he was doing. There cannot be one rule for them, and one for the rest of us. Any involvement of taxpayer’s money has to be whiter than white, purer than pure. No question of impropriety must ever cross anyone’s lips. It must be a genuine transaction, and not being used in some charade, regardless of how awkward the personal circumstances are for the people involved.

He made a serious error of judgement.

For that, he has to pay the price.

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This Must Be Stopped

Posted by The Futility Monster on May 29, 2010 @ 10:22

All shall bow before the Ermine!

Yesterday’s unveiling of the dissolution peerage lists has to be the last time we see this kind of thing happening.

The list is a veritable Who’s Who? of the failed, the disgraced, the defeated and the meddling ones who had decided they wanted to continue to be in politics but not have to face the trifling inconvenience of facing the electorate by defending their seat.

The Labour list is particularly galling.

  • Quentin Davies: turncoat, couldn’t bring himself to face the certain defeat that was the consequence of his defection
  • John Hutton: couldn’t hack it any more in the Commons, apparently, so send him to the Lords instead…
  • Jim Knight: defeated
  • Tommy McAvoy: Gordon Brown lackey rewarded
  • John Prescott: expenses, so-called class warrior being unable to refuse the temptation of the ermine
  • John Reid: retired, wants to continue meddling
  • Angela Evans Smith: defeated
  • Michael Wills: Gordon Brown lackey rewarded

The Lib Dem and Tory appointments are not much better, but at least there are fewer of them.

The House of Lords is treated as a play-thing by party leaders as yet another weapon of patronage at their disposal. The sad thing is that, at the same time, the country appears to be woefully ignorant of the fact that these very generous gestures are not the equivalent of giving someone a nice title so we can call them Sir.

Oh no. It is conferring on them the potential of a lifelong seat at the expenses trough, and with the potential for continuing to influence government and legislation way after their democratic mandates have run their course.

That should be an embarrassment to our democracy.

The House of Lords has zero legitimacy. Our ancestors recognised that a century ago and tried to do something about it.

A century later and we’re still waiting.

The time for commissions and inquiries is over. If the Lords is not reformed in this first or second session then it never will be. Only a 100% elected House of Lords will suffice, and if that is not the outcome of these first two years, then the Coalition government will have failed its first test to clean up and strengthen British politics.

Or maybe they’ve failed their first test already

Posted in Musings | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

The Privileges Of MPs

Posted by The Futility Monster on March 12, 2010 @ 09:24

The four alleged crims. Wot a gallery of rogues they are.

Yesterday’s appearance in Westminster Magistrates Court of the MPs accused of expenses fiddles was an excellent reminder to us all that no one should be above the law.

Not even MPs.

But what was most disgusting of all was that these clowns Still Don’t Get It.

Their appeal to not have to appear “in the dock” was contemptible. They have been charged with a crime. A crime they wish to deny and defend themselves against. The way to do that in this country is not to go all Milosevic on us and start questioning the authority of the court.

But that was what they did.

Not content with merely not wanting to appear like the common crim and standing in the dock, they then insisted that the court has no right to try them, because the “proceedings” of Parliament are protected by the absolute privilege granted by the Bill of Rights 1689.

Wisely, the magistrate ignored their demands, and referred the case to a higher authority.

When you’re already incredibly unpopular, been deselected by your party, and facing police investigations which will tar you for the rest of your life, the wisest course of action is either to hold your hands up and say “Fair cop, guv!” or come out fighting with a media barrage of innocence and insisting that you will clear your good name from these outrageous allegations.

Instead, the clowns, in a desperate attempt to “plead the fifth” as the Americans might say, are not even going to comment on their innocence or otherwise, simply because they believe that no court has the power to try them, only Parliament.

And since Parliament has no backbone, if they succeed, they will walk free, and yet the allegations of crimes under the Theft Act will never actually be tested.

When the CPS first made the statement that they were going to charge these MPs, the MPs then released their own rebuttal, which implied that they were going to plead a defence of privilege. I spotted it at the time, and am suitably chuffed about it.

But they cannot be right. They must not be right. Or Parliament’s reputation will not only be dead and buried, but its grave will be well and truly pissed upon.

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