When ‘Standards’ are discussed, ensure your own are of the highest!

I’d like to write to you today about standards. Standards in Public debate; standards of those in the public eye, and standards of those ‘whited sepulchres’ who readily point the finger at one of their own in simulated horror, but recoil when the spotlight is turned upon themselves.

I would ask readers to examine the difference between the treatment of one lone M.P.  Ian Paisley, the DUP MP for North Antrim; and the festering mob named but unashamed before, during and after the Telegraph ‘Expenses’ scandal broke .

Mr Paisley went on two holidays to Sri Lanka together with his family, and the Daily Telegraph alleges that he was supplied with a chauffeur-driven Mercedes along with all hotel accommodation; all paid for by the Sri Lankan Government. Now there is nothing illegal in accepting paid-for jollies from both foreign governments as well as large companies; if there was, approximately nine-tenths of both Houses of Parliament would be ‘guilty as charged’! Where Mr. Paisley seems to have swerved from the ‘path of righteousness’ is by not declaring these holidays in the Register of Interests in Parliament, and then lobbying on behalf of that Government. For that ‘high and mighty crime’, namely ‘serious misconduct’ (not declaring he took those holidays) he was slapped with a thirty-day suspension from sitting (and of course voting) in the Commons: and further faces a ‘Recall’ motion in his constituency; with a By-election for his seat if 10% of the constituents vote accordingly. Bit harsh? But more of that later on.

Let us now turn back the clock to 2009, and the whole Expenses scandal; for a scandal it surely was. True, the whole Nation rocked with laughter when the claims for ‘moat cleaning’ surfaced; as well as the ‘floating duck house’ and the hundreds of other scams such as ‘flipping’ the second homes’ addresses, so that repairs, refurbs’ and new furniture can and were claimed from taxpayers cash. But more serious items were also revealed, such as continuing to claim for mortgage payment refunds AFTER the mortgage was paid off. The ever-so-friendly apologists for murder, otherwise known as the five SinnFein MPs, despite never taking their seats in Parliament because that would mean that they would have to acknowledge The Queen as the British Head of State: claimed over £500,000.00 for the rent of three houses in London, all conveniently owned by the same Irish family: and all five stated that they were staying there constantly, despite neighbours denial of ever having seen any one of them near those properties.

The full list of the theft can be seen as carefully correlated in various online editions of the Telegraph, and is really too large to conveniently be excavated without a huge post, but some of the more egregious examples, in alphabetical order, include:-

  • Charlotte Atkins claimed more than £35,000 in renovations on her second home allowance including £20,000 for windows, £4,000 for the chimney, £9,000 for the bathroom and nearly £2,000 for the garden

  • Ian Austin split a claim for stamp duty on buying his second home in London into two payments and tried to claim it back over two financial years.

  • John Austin claimed more than £10,000 for redecorating his London flat, which was 11 miles from his main home, before selling it for a profit.

  • Ed Balls and wife Yvette Cooper “flipped” the designation of their second home to three different properties within two years. Mr Balls, the Schools Secretary, also attempted to claim £33 for poppy wreaths

  • Norman Baker asked if he could claim for a bicycle and a computer so he could listen to music and email family and friends

  • Greg Barker made a £320,000 profit selling a flat the taxpayer had helped pay for. He has agreed to repay £10,000.

  • Alan Beith claimed £117,000 in second home allowances while his wife, Baroness Maddock, claimed £60,000 in House of Lords expenses for staying at the same address. He also used his office expenses to pay for his London secretary to spend a month in his constituency during the last general election campaign

  • Sir Stuart Bell claimed £750 for food in December 2005, reduced to the maximum monthly amount of £400. Designated his second home as a flat in London and claimed £1,400 a month rent

  • Henry Bellingham claimed £1,500 mortgage interest per month for a flat in London. Mr Bellingham claimed a total of £85,845 in four years under the additional costs allowance.

The list goes on and on, but the scale of the scandal really overshadowed the truth of the whole thing, which was, put simply, nearly every one of these outrageous claims, if they had been submitted or attempted outside of Westminster, would have resulted in criminal charges!

But we should now return to the target for today’s ire, in Parliament that is; with the banishment and possible removal from his seat, of Mr Ian Paisley. What was it that was so wrong, so terrible, so inappropriate that thirty days suspension; the longest punishment ever doled out in Parliament was the only penalty? The man had apologised; he had stated that it was a lapse of memory and judgement, and it really is a grey area, where judgement about who declares what is unwritten. The committee acknowledged that there was “inconsistent guidance” in relation to registering such trips, but it did not “exonerate Mr Paisley from breaching the advocacy rule”.

Could it be that the real problem with Mr. Paisley’s holidays was that the family went to Sri Lanka, whose Government earned the opprobrium of many, including many British MPs, because they demolished a terror opposition by using the same tactics as the terror gangs, and would not apologise for their victory and survival?

As a final thought, remember that I mentioned the ‘whited sepulchres’ who professed horror, but were just as guilty as those which they condemned. I mention that because it was Sir Kevin Barron, chair of the Standards Committee, said they had concluded Mr Paisley was guilty of “serious misconduct and his actions were of a nature to bring the House of Commons into disrepute”.

Would this be the same Kevin Barron who, after selling his taxpayer funded home for a £500,000 profit, Barron began charging the taxpayer £1,500-a-month to rent a three-bedroom London home (also called “contriving a tenancy” by benefit fraud investigators)  owned by shadow cabinet office minister Jon Trickett?

Just asking!

15 comments for “When ‘Standards’ are discussed, ensure your own are of the highest!

  1. Pcar
    August 8, 2018 at 9:27 pm

    Mike,

    Good article, puts things in perspective. Thanks.

    Could it be that the real problem with Mr. Paisley’s holidays was he & DUP are Brexiters supporting (are they still?) May’s betrayal Gov’t?

    Just asking 😉

  2. August 8, 2018 at 11:03 pm

    Yep, hypocrisy is alive and sick.

  3. ScotchedEarth
    August 9, 2018 at 12:51 am

    Being an elected MP is inevitably short-term with every MP having to worry about losing his seat—to deselection (even diversity-hires must fear someone turning up higher placed on the Progressive Stack than they are) or losing an election after one of their many skeletons tumble out of the closet. MPs have only incentive to grab as much cash as they can while they can and none to actually do their jobs of representing their country and constituents (assuming they can find their constituency on a map without prompting).

    Our mistake was starting to pay them in 1911. We had far better MPs when they enjoyed no salaries or expenses than ever since: J.S. Mill, Edmund Burke, radicals like William Cobbett, PMs such as Pitts Elder and Younger, Wellington, Peel, Palmerston, Salisbury, etc. Other than Churchill, who have we had since that compares to those political titans?

    With few opportunities to dip one’s snout into the taxpayers’ trough, entering politics was seen more as a service to one’s country. Being unsalaried, it required them to have actual talent: to make money (as ex-Sergeant Major Cobbett did, financing himself through his writing) or to convince a patron that they were worthy of their support (as Burke convinced Lord Verney and William Hamilton), or to have made their fortune before entering politics (such as successful naval officers rich from prizes, like Sir Edward Pellew—who some believe the inspiration for Patrick O’Brian’s Jack Aubrey).

    MPs once saw their job as simply steering Plato’s ‘Ship of State’ safely, taking in a reef here, setting full sail there, battening down the hatches and seeking safe harbour when necessary—not be forever trying to rebuild the entire ship from the keel up, as our MPs do now, seeking headlines for their latest whim to radically restructure our country. For many, being an MP was part-time (and being unpaid, the public little minded them taking long holidays or concentrating on their businesses), with MPs such as John Norris, who combined representing Rye (1708–22, 1734–49) and Portsmouth (1722–34) with a Royal Naval career, commanding operational cruises to the Baltic; and Admiral Thomas Cochrane (the inspiration for C.S. Forester’s Hornblower) who led daring expeditions against Buonaparte’s forces in the Med while representing Westminster constituency (1807–18). Now, our MPs constantly try to ‘be seen to do something’, perpetually passing new laws and regulations to nag us with.

    If you want a better class of MP, stop paying them.

    • August 9, 2018 at 6:38 am

      Amen.

    • James Strong
      August 9, 2018 at 9:06 am

      There would have been no place for you in the Chartist movement, then.

      • ScotchedEarth
        August 11, 2018 at 12:55 pm

        Yes, James Strong (Aug. 9, 9:06am), no place at all. I suspect that this unapologetic rejection of the Chartists will seem like *heresy* to many, such is the effectiveness of our faith institutions masquerading as schools in inculcating the worship of Government.

        It is a sort of ‘red pill’ moment: realising that people can enjoy greater liberty under even an absolute monarch than under our democracies, which not only progressively erode our liberties and salaries but promise worse to come.

        Take that shining example of liberty that is America: Mark Steyn is quite good at noting the contrast between what the American rebels at least claimed to be fighting for and what Americans now tolerate—from the imperious behaviours of Presidents that make the Sun King look humble to infringements of liberty far beyond the imagination of George III. E.g. https://www.steynonline.com/8399/weaponizing-the-shutdown This column notes that in at least one respect a modern American citizen now enjoys less rights than a medieval English peasant.

        Kings did not strip Britons of our liberties, nor a parliament composed of social elites elected by a restricted and equally elite electorate. This was done by ‘people’s’ parliaments full of oiks elected by the enfranchised masses.
        E.g. far from banning arms, our kings once *mandated* the bearing of arms (e.g. Henry II’s Assize of Arms of 1181) as his subjects were expected to take an active part in the maintenance of the King’s Peace (law & order) and defence of his Realm.
        E.g. peers opposed the creation of police as ‘the most dangerous and effective engine of despotism’—and as a consequence, our police were divided into small, locally accountable forces emphasising ‘policing by consent’ instead of being a national, paramilitary body; and as our police progressively come under the central control of our ‘people’s’ parliaments, so they become ever more the ‘engine of despotism’ those elites warned against.
        E.g. While in 1604 Sir Edward Coke could declare that ‘the house of every one is to him as his Castle and Fortress’ and in 1763 Pitt the Elder say, ‘The poorest man may in his cottage bid defiance to all the forces of the Crown. It may be frail—its roof may shake—the wind may blow through it—the rain may enter—but the King of England cannot enter—all his force dares not cross the threshold of the ruined tenement!’, now 266 powers allow entrance to our homes, introduced as our franchise expanded and, as commonly defined, we became more “““democratic”””—185 since 1970 alone.
        Not just our kings but even the supposedly despotic Tsars had a much more enlightened view of their subjects bearing arms: ‘How Russians lost their own 2nd Amendment: The right to bear arms’ https://www.rbth.com/history/326865-guns-rifles-russia-revolution

        ***Better a subject than a citizen.***

    • August 9, 2018 at 1:38 pm

      No pay at all? Hmmmm. I doubt we would find such upstanding moral men (and women, of course) who would take the job.

      No, pay them the average wage or some slightly over 100%age thereof. Civil servants too. And no golden handshakes after.

      Alternatively choose 500 good men (and women, of course) and true from the General Population to do a two year stint (obligatory, like Jury Duty) with a proviso that they end their period of service with exactly the same amount of personal wealth as they had at the start. Hang any who expand their wealth in the time. A modest additional pension lasting a few years to get back to their jobs could be managed.

      One may need to define ‘good and true’ to include, say being bright, British by birth, had paid tax for ten years (having held a job for all that time), have a solid education in something useful, and be married with children.

      • Lord T
        August 9, 2018 at 2:33 pm

        Two years is too long. It should be a year max and pref six months and who cares if they make money. Some will have holding that make money when they are asleep. Everyone wealth grows in some way over two years. Hang them for being capitalists, That will work.

        They should get more than the average wage, maybe 150% of it and all expenses etc. should follow the tax gestapos rules. Nobody should be exempt.

      • ScotchedEarth
        August 11, 2018 at 12:25 pm

        Amfortas, since Simon de Montfort established the first Parliament in 1265 until 1911—for 646 years—people sat willingly as its members with no expectation of remuneration. If, in the 107 years since granting salaries to MPs, the British people have decayed so much that our 63–70 million population does not have 650 people both financially independent and willing to serve in Parliament, then we perhaps *deserve* our impending ethnic and cultural replacement. I believe you to be wrong though: I doubt that e.g. Jacob Rees-Mogg would walk away offering Britain only an Agincourt Salute—I suspect he would instead welcome a clearing of the decks of the taxpayer-funded diversity-hires. As for the sort of financially-independent person who would refuse to serve his country without financial compensation, rather than monetarily reward such scurrilous personalities, a token of esteem, such as a small piece of plumbum with a copper veneer, is adequate recompense.

        Of course, suggesting removing the taxpayer trough will give many an MP a heart-attack, most well knowing they would have difficulty enough earning an honest living, let alone one that maintains them at the lifestyle they are used to. I have one notion for a carrot that might persuade those MPs who are not entirely incompetent: replace salaries and expense with internet crowd-funding. If but half an MP’s voters gave a mere £1 a month to the MP they elected, our highest-paid politician would be George Howarth (Labour, Knowsley) who could be raking in £284,106 p/a (and possibly considerably more, if more than 50% of those who voted for him donated and/or donated more than £12 a year); while our lowest paid MP would be Angus MacNeil (SNP, Na h-Eileanan an Iar) on a still respectable £36,078 p.a. If your local MP is any use, why would you *not* be willing to give them a measly quid a month—a paltry £12 a year? (Although I suspect many MPs are elected only as the lesser of many evils or simply for the rosette they wear and so a number of MPs will soon find themselves on their uppers—which is the point of the exercise.)
        It being not only demeaning for MPs to seek recourse to sites such as Patreon but would make them hostage to their idiosyncratic, ideologically-driven interpretation of rules, HMG would be sensible to set up a dedicated site and server for this. This would also allow more control, such as restricting funding to an MP’s constituents to improve the link between MPs and their constituencies.

    • Pcar
      August 9, 2018 at 8:08 pm

      @ScotchedEarth

      +1

      Applies to local councillors too

      • ScotchedEarth
        August 11, 2018 at 12:16 pm

        Absolutely correct, Pcar: yes, local councillors were also unsalaried and unexpensed—the only salaried official was the Town Clerk, who functioned as a sort of mini-Civil Service, providing the borough continuity and councillors professional advice.

  4. Penseiveat
    August 9, 2018 at 10:11 am

    “MP” – Monetary Parasite?

  5. The Jannie
    August 9, 2018 at 3:29 pm

    “his actions were of a nature to bring the House of Commons into disrepute”
    That must be an achievement in itself.

  6. Errol
    August 9, 2018 at 6:33 pm

    These the same crawling sewage who recently set a proposal to have their expenses kept secret again?

  7. Pcar
    August 9, 2018 at 8:20 pm

    Re: Mr Ian Paisley jnr

    View from NI Unionists I’ve conversed with is he’s a good MP, but trading on his name and a bit too dodgy verging on being a trougher MP. Many would prefer someone more honest.

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