So senior Tories think it fair for the taxpayer to pay for their second homes, furnishing and travel, moats around their castles and fix pipes under their swimming pools, but not to fund social services and public transport for the rest of us. Apparently social services and teachers etc are a waste of money and we need 'efficiency savings' there, but the second home allowance is sacrosanct and necessary.
David Cameron is billed as 'Mr Clean' yet thinks it perfectly reasonable for the taxpayer to pay over £20,000 towards his mortgage on one of his £1m homes. How can we trust these Tories to be fair, when their own expenses seem to come first? None of these expenses will be paid back. This remember is on top of his £140,000 salary from the taxpayer.
David Cameron is transparently a Thatcherite and party tribalist, all of his calls for efficiency for MPs are shallow party political advantage.
Cut the number of MPs to 'save money' he says - it has nothing to do with the fact that larger constituencies will win the Tories more seats, of course not. And where is the efficiency in deciding that adminstrative and geographical boundaries do not matter when deciding where to draw these arbitrary constituencies? This will be more costly, but of course it will result in more Tories being elected so it must be good. So much for the 'constituency link'. Under the Tories the electorate will be even more confused as to who they are voting for. Most are hearing the names of their MPs for the first time by hearing about their fraudulent and extravagant expenses claims.
Now he calls for the communication budget of £10,000 a year (less than 30p per constituent) to be cut - well he would wouldn't he? With Lord Ashcroft pumping millions into the marginals and the Tories owning the local press, they don't have to worry about not being heard by their constituents.
Add in the scrapping of impartiality rules for the broadcast media that Cameron will bring in and it all makes sense - even more Thatcherite broadcasters in the Daily Mail and Rupert Murdoch mode will suit the Tories very well.
In the midst of all this scandal, the good MPs, Celia Barlow in Hove and Martin Salter in Reading who claim not a penny in second homes are overlooked. Both of these MPs are in severe danger of losing their marginal seats, yet Tory Douglas Hogg and his moat are, ahem, 'safe as houses' in their safe seats. Why? Because disgusted as they are, people cannot bring themselves to vote against their party - especially Tories who will vote blue till the cows come home no matter what - even as the expenses ring loudly in the till for their piggish MPs.
It is a pity these expense details only go back 4 years - it would be very illuminating to hear what the Thatcherite Tory ministers were claiming in the 1980s and early 90s. Remember Thatcher brought in these allowances in the 80s, along with cuts to benefits and wages for the masses.
Just as Thatcherite and Majorite sex scandals put paid to MPs supposed moral authority over our private lives, New Labour's excesses have finished off any moral integrity these fraudulent Ministers and MPs should have over our financial affairs. How can these crooks lecture benefit fraudsters or tax avoiders and have any integrity when they are doing just the same themselves - except they can do it without fear of prosecution. We are in desperate times and as long as most MPs reside in safe seats and can gerrymander their boundaries they know they are safe. The people need to rise up and demand the removal of these MPs, the party pull is too deep to break and the disaffected non-voters can be safely ignored. We need PR and we need people selected by lottery in the house to keep these public school boys and girls in check.
What this expenses scandal has shown is that upper class and middle class people can be just as immoral as anyone else. I am not shocked, but it seems a lot of us are. The next step is to do something about it. Sadly people are being mis-directed to what the problem is, which is a lack of democracy in how we elect our MPs, not a mere change of expenses rules that is needed.
No longer can the right claim that excessive wages in the private sector do not matter (as they did when the Thatcherites deregulated and got us into this depression). Yes we need to reduce inequality in the public sector and increase efficiency, but we also need to open up the books of private companies - as the banking sector has shown, the public either as taxpayers, consumers or both, have to pick up the bill for these excessive wages, bonuses and expenses. The people need equal votes, only then will they have the power to stop the top people taking the piss with our money.