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Cheers - AE

Friday, 23 January 2009

MPs to show expenses. Or not. Maybe. Who knows really?

First the High Court says that MPs have to publish their expenses in detail so the public can be sure they're not taking the piss. Then the government decides they're really not to keen on the idea of transparency, and having spent so long avoiding any efforts at open government there was now way they were going to start now. So a little legal jiggling and the problem would go away, and it ought to go through because the wicked Tories are just bound to have their snouts in the trough as well, right? But just to be on the safe side a three line whip of Labour MPs will make damn sure of it and they release the news among a load of more interesting headlines. Next, oops! A load of people got wound up, a Facebook group was started protesting it, a LibDem MP tabled an early day motion criticizing it, blogs were blogged and the media meeded. And in spite of the three line whip making it a dead cert Gordon Clown, showing his usual appetite for a battle, backed down. But now it seems that not much has changed after all:
MPs will still not have to volunteer full details of their expenses despite yesterday's U-turn by Gordon Brown, under reforms being voted on by the Commons today.
Proposals from Leader of the House Harriet Harman would merely mean spending being routinely published under 26 broad categories, according to campaigners.
A spokesman for Ms Harman confirmed they would not lead to receipt-by-receipt information on spending being routinely published.
So no real gain in transparency. No real guarantee that seeing, say, "Office Equipment - £5000" doesn't include a big fucking plasma screen for the idle narcissistic bastards to watch interviews of themselves on. Beneath contempt.
The Commons has already spent more than £1million dealing with 1.2million receipts. Insiders said their publication was still expected to take place by July.
Miss Harman said: ‘We didn’t think it was right there should be 1.2million receipts, every single receipt for every ream of paper that’s bought, should be scanned and then published because it would be a blizzard of information at great expense.’
Presumably I didn't need to bother keeping all the receipts for my last UK tax return? I could have just said that I'd already spent 500 quid dealing with nearly 600 receipts, and on that basis they should fuck off? It all seems so simple now. Oh, it doesn't apply to ordinary people? Just those extra special people being employed by ordinary people to represent them in Parliament? Oh bugger. Well, fair enough I suppose. It's not like any of them look dodgy.

Fucking hypocrites.
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