Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Oscar Wilde's cynical politicians

We may have politicians who are very well educated, so well that they know the rules and regulations and they work them to the maximum benefit. The cynic according to Oscar Wilde is the man who "knows the price of everything and the value of nothing." A cynic puts great emphasis on selfishness and looks to this as a primary motivator for behaviour. This is clearly what is being seen time and time again with MPs expenses. The common defence is that they have done nothing wrong - they know the price of everything and no law may have been broken. What is happening is that claims are being made that are not proportionate to need.

In November last year James Purnell, the Secretary of State for works and Pensions left confidential information on a train. I would consider this faux pas slightly more important than that of Bob Quick (see blog 12th April) but I would not call for his resignation because of one mistake. On the news tonight I see that he has claimed for his groceries on expenses. How do groceries become an expense? What is the salary for? Not only has he done something which to most people would seem strange, to say the least, he has also claimed nearly £500 per month. What is he buying as a tax-free expense?

This is the same man who was at the centre of the news two years ago to place him in a group photograph using photo manipulation. He may not have broken any laws when his photo was manipulated. he may not have broken any laws leaving confidential information on a train. He may not have broken any laws claiming for his tins of beans. What has happened is our faith in politicians is tarnished. He needs to know the value in his actions not the cost.

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