Monday, 31 May 2010

Let's sort out expenses.

I could have written this blog yesterday but I wanted to give it more than my usual amount of thought.

David Laws has resigned from the cabinet because he claimed £40 000 over nine years as payment for his accommodation which was paid to his friend. Since then there has been a great deal of support for David from all parties. The money is hardly in question. The cost of accommodation could have been far greater, and with his background in the city there has certainly been no intention of going into politics to make money. He is supported because he is an honourable man. I have no means of knowing this but he certainly has many high-ranking friends. David Law's intention was to keep his relationship private. It had nothing to do with false claiming (otherwise known as stealing). All in all it looks like the system is wrong and a good politician has resigned when the system was to blame.

This is the general view but I have read about one person who does not hold this opinion. Ben Bradshaw, the Labour MP wrote on Twitter 'when is "protecting your privacy" a euphamism for feeling shameful about who you are?' and went on to say 'clegg statement re laws nonsense why should anyone in Britain today feel ashamed to acknowledge they're gay'.

David Laws has made mistakes. He has broken rules and you can't pick and choose which rules you wish to follow. The rule he broke concerns paying partners for accommodation. If he were married then there would be no question of claiming for a home that is owned by a partner. I don't know how much you can claim for living in the house of a partner so there may be some theft involved. He was foolish to try to keep his relationship secret. He was foolish to claim in a manner that broke rules. He is foolish to distinguish between the importance of his role as a minister and his role as an MP. Some of us still think an MP's job is important.

It would be refreshing to hear some comments like this instead of one Twitter note which does not address the problem (there are many reasons why some people may wish to keep a gay relationship private) and breaks most grammatical rules of the English language - but Ben was only a journalist prior to becoming an MP. The expenses scandal is still haunting us and the sooner it is sorted out the better.

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