Sunday, November 1, 2009

They think it'll all be over, well they should think again.

On Wednesday a lot of MP's will be hoping and praying that at last a lid will be able to be put upon the expenses crisis, that it can be consigned to the past and forgotten whilst they get on with allowing Brussels to run the country.
Except it's not, there's one glaring omission in the widely leaked Christopher Kelly report and that's flipping your home.
Reforms of MPs' expenses will exclude one of the most serious and common abuses of the whole system
The details of the reforms, by the standards watchdog Sir Christopher Kelly, have been widely leaked: bans on MPs claiming for second homes less than 60 minutes from Westminster, on claiming mortgage interest, on £64,000 "golden parachutes" and on employing relatives. While MPs remain angry that the Kelly review has, in their eyes, gone too far and is too punishing, they hope it will mark the final chapter in the expenses saga.
Yet one of the most serious and widespread abuses of the system – known as "flipping" – has been swept under the carpet. It is not expected to feature in the Kelly review, because his reforms will not be applied retrospectively, meaning all "flippers" will escape censure. Sir Thomas Legg's report into expenses last month, even though it enjoyed the power to punish past sins, also steered clear of the practice. A separate investigation into flipping was blocked last week by the Speaker, John Bercow – who himself happens to be a "flipper".
Do they honestly think that this set of reforms will work? Can't they see that now more than ever they are under scrutiny over what they say and what they do?
To be honest I think the report by Kelly is a bit of a whitewash in that it doesn't go anywhere close to dealing with this corrupt and tainted Parliament. There should have been sackings, de-selections and criminal proceedings galore as those who stole from the public purse were held to account for what they did. Liars, cheats and thieves almost to a man (and woman) in no other business or industry would such flagrant abuses of the rules and the law be acceptable. Return of the ill gotten gains would only have been the start of things, arrests and trial would have been a likely outcome of you or I trying the same thing on in the real world. Not standing up in front of your colleagues and giving a mealy mouthed apology that you clearly didn't mean.

If I had my way, not one, not a single one of this current Parliament of thieves would have been allowed to stand in the next general election and they would all have been barred for standing for public office for the rest of their lives. Pour encourager les autres.

So no, it's not over, we have the details, we know who they are and it's not going away any time this side of the general election.

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