Sunday, 7 February 2010

All of you are guilty...

There was a saying in Scunthorpe that use to annoy me no end: 'If Labour put up a donkey then people would vote for it.' I never did understand what exactly they meant by that back then, and that must have been all of thirty years and more, another saying that often did the rounds was ‘they are all the same politicians’.

Anybody that reads our blog on a regular basis may correctly guess that the two authors one based in London and the other in Scunthorpe and have a strong connection with the Town, but more than that, we have the history of political activity in that community behind us from a Socialist perspective. In fact Brain Hopper was the Socialist Labour Party candidate in the 1997 general election offering an alternative to the procurement of the donkey.

The years have come and gone, not always nice years under New Labour, especially when we think of the wars started or supported by them in other parts of the world, and the on-going recession, unemployment and so on!

Thirteen years on and we face in a few months or even weeks another general election, this election comes when the parliamentary system stands in total disgrace, far worst than when John Major led his sleaze ridden party to defeat. How many Martin Bell’s will it take to clean up British politics some may ask, we would say not any of that type not even a single Ester Ranson. It’s ironic that thirteen years fast forward and more MPs have been helping themselves by the spoonful to money, homes and the other benefits of office whilst as it seems, sticking two fingers up!

Now the three MPs charged with false accounting in the Westminster expenses scandal say they should be judged by the parliamentary authorities, not the criminal courts. It is reported that opposition leaders have reacted angrily to the news that Labour MPs Elliot (Scunthorpe) Morley, David Chaytor and Jim Devine may claim that their expenses are covered by parliamentary privilege, a principle intended to stop MPs being sued for things they say in the House of Commons. Before we go any further let’s not forget that all the party leaders had to pay back expenses they wrongly claimed, and their reaction to these three is nothing more than political scapegoating of the worst kind. The report by Sir Thomas Legg, the independent auditor, showed that abuse of the system was far more widespread than the few "bad apples". A total of 381 MPs will be forced to pay back an average of £3,000 after the review criticised politicians for putting personal gain before protecting public money. More than £1 million will be repaid in the wake of the expenses scandal uncovered by The Daily Telegraph (Tory) Newspaper.

"All of you are guilty of having gone along with a system which you must have known was flawed, even if you were not personally guilty," Sir Christopher Kelly of the Committee on Standards in Public Life told MPs. "I suspect that most of you were as unaware, as everybody else was until The Daily Telegraph revelations, of the extent to which people were manipulating the system."

And yet still they sick together; Grimsby MP Austin Mitchell has offered support to his Scunthorpe counterpart, who has been charged for making false expense claims.

Scunthorpe MP Elliot Morley will face two charges of false accounting relating to his claims for mortgage expenses on his Winterton home, in the wake of the nationwide MPs expenses scandal.

Mr Mitchell – who voluntarily paid back £10,000 in mistakenly-claimed expenses on his second home mortgage – said: "Elliot is a very hard-working MP. He's had a lot of national and international responsibilities which could have distracted his attention from the nuances of expense claiming.

"It's come as a total surprise and I'm very sad to see it happen."

We have our own bone to grind when it comes to Elliot Morley for all the obvious political reasons, but we shall not rub salt into the wounds of a man whilst he is down; it’s not our style - not even you Morley!

You can view Elliot Morley speaking about his role as an MP  here

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