Friday, December 16, 2011

Credo quia absurdum

It strikes me as totally absurd that the small band of thieves* prosecuted over the expense scandal in Westminster should not face the full cost of their thievery as well as the full legal cost of their ridiculous attempt to use parliamentary privilege to exempt them from prosecution.
Yet that is what appears to be happening...
A RULING that expenses-cheat MPs will only have to pay just over a third of their £345,000 trial costs met with fury yesterday.
The decision means taxpayers will have spent more than £200,000 both to prosecute and defend former Labour MPs David Chaytor, Elliot Morley, Eric Illsley and Jim Devine.
The first three have asked to pay back £125,000 between them in legal fees while Devine, who cost £108,000 in legal aid and prosecution costs, was spared because he has been declared bankrupt.
Legal aid paid to the four totalled just over £245,000 while prosecution costs were estimated at nearly £100,000. The Commission which administers legal aid had applied for all its money back.
But judge Mr Justice Saunders said at Southwark Crown Court it would not be reasonable to demand repayment of costs incurred by Morley, Chaytor and Devine when they went to the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court to argue that Parliamentary privilege exempted them from prosecution.
I somehow doubt, though I may be wrong, that anyone else would be treated so leniently (Well save if they weren't white angle Saxon, where different standards and rules apparently apply) Fact is, these people were crooks who took advantage of a lax expenses system to systematically loot the public purse, their only bad luck seems to be the fact that they were the only ones prosecuted. Their good luck (and all the other porcine purloiner's) is the fact that it wasn't me handing out a sentence of death pour encourager les autres. I'm not saying that those who run the country should not get adequately recompensed for doing their job, what I am saying is that those who run the country should also face some fairly extreme penalties for robbing the public and abusing their position. Though it became fairly obvious in the Blair years that the dishonourable members were looking after themselves first, middle and last, hence the removal of the death penalty for treason.
It's now long past time that our parliament needs to be reformed root and branch along with the civil service and various other public services, though unfortunately until we take to the streets and force them to reform at the point of a gun we have to rely on them doing it themselves, which essentially means never.

*Out of the rather larger band of thieves who got away with it.

2 annotations:

Captain Haddock said...

It would be interesting to know whether the Westminster thieves were hit with the ludicrously named "victim surcharge" ..

If they weren't they should be (everyone else is)..

And if they were, there should be separate surcharge for each offence ..

Anonymous said...

I disagree vehemently Captain Haddock

Why? Because the thieving toe-rags would just claim it on expenses, and we'd get to pay that as well as their legal expenses.

My personal belief is that, as in a situation when someone over claims benefits, they should be made to pay back every penny - and then every one of them should be disbarred from ever holding any political office. Perhaps that would encourage something vaguely approaching honesty in the corrupt, self-serving, political class.

OK, climbing off my soap-box now :-)