Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Westminster's Shame

When I was in London, I became a voracious reader because I read all the newspapers I could get my hands on and gorging all the “local” news that caught my eye. Of course the newspapers were screaming “bloody murder" about the unbridled greed of British MPs – from Gordon Brown’s Cabinet to backbenchers of all parties who had abused public funds by exploiting the system of parliamentary allowances to subsidize their lifestyles and multiple homes – and as Metro (June 19, p 1) shrieked: “They took every penny they could”.

More than one million claims and receipts were finally released one year after the High Court ordered their publication – but as the June 19 editions of newspapers illustrated, the names, addresses, and other details were conveniently blacked out – further outraging the British public.

Even as early as May 09, the Daily Mail has already begun to expose Labour ministers’ spending excesses (Webpage
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1178516/Dont-blame-As-expenses-scandal-rocks-Westminster-predictable-response-rulers.html) – little did anybody suspect this was just the beginning of something so very scandalous!

And other equally astonishing claims include:
Ex-Premier Tony Blair claimed £260 to shred “papers” and a whopping £6,990 expense claim for roof repairs on his designated second home, just 2 days before stepping down.
Jeremy Hunt, Tory MP for South-west Surrey claimed one penny for a 12-second mobile phone call.
Michael Spicer, Tory MP for West Worcestershire claimed £620 for hanging a chandelier in his manor house and even submitted a bill of £47 for a visit from a chimney sweep, while logs for the fire cost taxpayers £60.
Sir Peter Viggers, Tory MP for Gosport claimed £1,645 for the cost of a floating duck home – a miniature replica of an 18th century Swedish building, and £30,000 for ‘gardening” over 3 years, including £500 for 28 tons of manure.

John Battle, Labour MP for Leeds West claimed £499 for a dark brown sofa and £599 for a recliner.
Ben Bradshaw, Labour MP for Exeter submitted a WH Smith receipt for gay magazine Attitude for £3.25.
Clive Betts, Labour MP for Sheffield Attercliffe claimed £1,268 for carpets, £689.99 for a television, £1,135.20 for a bed; £570 for a sofa bed; £1,220 on furniture and £1,433.50 on decoration.
Liberal Democrat Lembit Opik claimed £19.99 for the “mother of all wigs” to wear to a charity event.

As George Pascoe-Watson, political editor of The Sun (June 19, p 5) remarked: “No wonder the nation demands an early general election. Nothing less will clear out the Westminster pig sty once and for all”.

So it’s not just Malaysian politicians who need to be lynched, the antics of British politicians demand the same punishment!

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