Saturday, 9 May 2009

Openness In Politics

I heard Chris Davies speak this evening (Friday 8th) as he was talking at the Midland Hotel in Morecambe and he spoke about openness in politics. This is the same evening that MPs are busy defending themselves about their expenses. 'They have done nothing wrong' but the public can see through the MPs' charm. Thanks to people like Chris Davies we are seeing what our MEPs are doing with our money.

There is nothing wrong with the Daily Telegraph documenting where MPs' expenses are going. The PM and the Chancellor and Hazel Blears have 'flipped' i.e. claimed for different second homes. Hazel says she has only ever had one second home but she has really missed the question and this will come to haunt her. She has claimed for things that most people would think are unreasonable. This system also means that John Prescott can ask for payment for mock Tudor beams, when no beams look fine. Peter Mandelson says the paper is creating a perception that the MPs are doing wrong. Well it may be news to you Peter but it is wrong even if it is in the guidelines! At least Gordon Brown knows that reforms are necessary.

Jack Straw says he isn't making an excuse, he was just too busy and that is why he claimed for expenses when he didn't pay for them. Jack does know that ignorance or being too busy is not a proper defence. It was his way of explaining his errors. This might be alright for Jack but ordinary people lose their jobs because of errors like this. Phil Woolas, the friend of Joanna Lumley, is considering suing the Telegraph because the paper claims he bought women's clothes and nappies. The answer is simple but lawyers won't like it. Let's have openness in politics.

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