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Run, leetle peeg!


Okey dokey. Let’s see if I can take a crack at translating this expenses thing into Yankee.

Members of the British Parliament are expected to keep a home in their constituency district and also have accomodation in London for when Parliament is in session. Two homes. London is the second most expensive city in the world. The average MP makes £64K per annum (around $100,000).

You could swing it, but it would be pretty tight. So, rather than pissing the voters off by giving themselves a fat raise, the government set up an easygoing allowance scheme that would reimburse them up to £24K ($38K) in expenses a year. Few questions asked.

It’s like your boss saying, “I can’t give you a pay increase this year, but I’ll turn a blind eye if you swipe office supplies and pad your meal allowances.” No big? Ah…but X factors have whipped this into the perfect political shitstorm.

THE TIMING IS LOUSY. Right in the teeth of a global financial meltdown. One that is widely blamed (rightly or not) on bankers. The public has a great big hair across its ass, and the name of that hair is “greedy rich guys.”

THE RECEIPTS ARE STUPID. It’s a slush fund, really. And MP’s never dreamed the paperwork would go public. So the things they tried to claim for and their correspondence with the fees office are sloppy and wrong to the point of smartass. Five pence for a shopping bag. Tampax for a male MP. Pissing and moaning whenever they didn’t get their way.

THEY DID THEIR BESTESES TO COVER IT UP. The Freedom of Information Act is new here, and ex-Speaker Martin spent over £100,000 in court trying to exempt Parliament from it. In the end, the receipts did a mysterious end-around and flat-out leaked. Oh, but the Blair-era receipts were shredded, despite being subject of an official FOI request. Hrm.

THE CONTRAST IS HIGHLY OFF-PISSING. See: timing. The economy is tough. Record layoffs and bankruptcies. There’s a rage for growing your own vegetable gardens. A waiting list for wood-burning stoves. The public mood is austere. It’s a really, really bad time to try charging a £8,865 Bang & Olufsen widescreen TV to the taxpayer.

MP’S ARE SO VERY FUCKING TONE DEAF. I cannot believe how badly these bozos are playing it — all whiny and butthurt. They compare themselves aloud to “other professionals” like doctors — yeah? What exactly are the qualifications for MP again? — and I guess their fantasy doctors live like rock stars and premier league footballers. Alternating snot-monsters and victims; the worst possible reaction. The only major figure who seems to understand how scary-mad the public is is David Cameron (mixed feelings on this; I can’t stand him).

But I think the biggest aggravating factor is, MP’s are asking the public to cut ’em a little slack at a time when NOBODY CUTS THE BRITISH PUBLIC SLACK, EVER. Civil liberties are in the crapper. There are cameras everywhere. Three traffic no-nos and you lose your license. Councils are paying neighbors to snitch on each other. They collect your garbage half as often but ream your ass if there are recyclables in with your kitchen waste. “Health and Safety” legislation daily shears off great chunks of familiar freedoms.

The worst is at the local level, but government flows from the source. The great dam of public rage has up and busted, and MP’s are standing right in its path. Clutching receipts.

May 22, 2009 — 7:24 pm
Comments: 48