Sunday, 10 May 2009

Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word

As far as one has been able to ascertain not one Member of Parliament who has been 'exposed' as having abused the spirit of the expenses and allowances system has actually uttered the 'sorry' word, instead just repeating that 'it was within the rules' and 'the Fees Office agreed the claim', or words to that effect.

We have had Gordon Brown also 'parroting' the line that 'the system is wrong, we know the system is wrong' and 'we have changed the rules' - again 'Sorry' does not appear.

Then we have Sir Stuart Bell MP announcing that an independent accounting unit will be set up to review expenses claims - again 'Sorry' does not appear.

All the above appear to have one thing in common and that is 'Well its happened, we have changed the rules so it can't re-occur, we will have this independent audit body in future' - and it is all meant to give the impression that the problem is now solved, so can we 'move on' to another subject?

No, Gordon - no, MPs - no, Sir Stuart Bell, we can't just move on and forget it, thus avoiding some MPs having to answer some rather pertinent questions.

Maybe the Police need to investigate instances of alleged misappropriation of public money?
Maybe the Inland Revenue need to investigate instances of alleged tax avoidance?
Maybe Parliament needs to be suspended whilst this whole matter is investigated - with no new Bills introduced or passed, nor Statutory Instruments implemented - and the findings produced within, say, 6 months?
Maybe, whilst Parliament is 'suspended', all MPs should return to their constituency and explain - in public meetings - how, item by item, their claims for expenses and accommodation allowances - have been 'within the rules'?
Maybe we need to introduce a system of re-call for MPs who do not truly represent their constituents by voting for the Party line, rather than as their constituents would like?
Maybe we need to have a system whereby each political party puts forward a candidate for Prime Minister, said candidate being chosen by all voters rather than just the part members for whom each candidate is standing? In other words Open Primaries.
Maybe we need a system whereby each prospective MP is chosen by all voters in the respective constituency regardless of the voter's political affiliation? Again - Open Primaries.
Maybe all political parties need to define, in their manifestos, what they believe 'democracy' is and how they intend to implement it - rather than paying what is, at present, lip service to the subject?
Maybe we need a system of democracy in Britain whereby MPs - elected by us and who we can unelect - really do decide our laws, rather than have them dictated to us by an organisation based on the continent?
Maybe we need to look at not just MPs but also those Commons Officials whose job it was supposedly to implement the expenses and allowances system?
Maybe we need the Speaker of the Commons elected by private ballot?
Maybe we need all the Select Committees also elected by private ballot?

The 'maybe' list of suggestions is endless!

Maybe we need to go back to the 'drawing board'?

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