Sunday, 13 December 2009
At the risk of becoming a crashing bore on the subject of MPs and their odious propensity to believe that their entitlements know no bounds, but mainly because I’ve read through the press and there’s not a lot to interest me there, I thought I’d recount this little story about the Shadow Defence Secretary...
When I say there’s nothing much going on, of course I suppose I could talk a bit about Berlusconi catching a left hook with a model of the Duomo in Milan, but frankly, apart from a wee bit of concern about whether it will spoil his good looks (snigger) and the temptation to suspect that his wife was behind it, it didn’t really interest me that much. There is the speculation in The Times that the UK Election will be earlier than had been anticipated, but we all know that Labour can’t afford two election campaigns, and with the May campaign for English councils being a fixture, it seems unlikely to me that Brown will authorise (or rather the Labour Party’s bankers will authorise) the spending involved in two campaigns.
Tony Blair who seems to poke his nose into everything these days has advised that even if the science is a bit faulty we should move forward with climate change measure. Shades of “even if he doesn’t have WMDs we should do what Mr Cheney says”. I wonder who’s paying him to say this. He sure as hell won’t be saying it because he believes it.
The Times also carries a story about Mr Cameron saying that he will make all Lords and MPs pay taxes in Britain. Now, I’ve heard the principle ‘no taxation without representation’, which as any 16 or 17 year old who works will tell you is a bit of a joke here, but it just makes you wonder what kind of country we are that has legislators who do not pay tax in the country over which they legislate. "You people can pay tax at 50%, I'm off to Belize where the rate is erm 1%. Bye." So not much to write about there....
So, back to this wee snippet which I thought I might just retell. It appears in Dominic Lawson’s column, again from The Times. As I said earlier it’s about Gerald Howarth , shadow Defence Spokesman. Lawson says.....
“I don’t imagine [he] enjoyed the publication of this plaintive memo that he sent to the Commons fees office: “I have received a letter ... challenging my entitlement to claim £25 per month for a Sky Sports subscription. I submit that as I already pay for that service at my principal home, I see no reason why I should have to pay twice when I snatch a few moments from constituency engagements to watch rugby or other sports not available on terrestrial TV.”
Hum.... as a mate of mine would say..... wee shame.
I have real problems understanding exactly how this subscription which so many of his constituents would like, but can’t afford, could be described as wholly, necessarily and exclusively incurred to enable Mr Howarth to perform his parliamentary duties.
Well, Mr Howarth doesn’t sound like my cup of tea at all. He took part in a protest in 1968 (at the age of 21) in favour of the American war in Vietnam, although he was careful to position himself close to a line of policemen. He is a committed Thatcherite. He was “gutted” when she resigned and admits that he remains and will always remain devoted to her. He has a record of voting that would make Norman Tebbit look left wing, and has said that when his party is elected he would like to be “Minister for War”. Mr Howarth was implicated in last year’s expenses scandal having over-claimed for furniture and a wall. Why on earth has Cameron still got this man on his team?
So... it’s not a big story tonight, but just another one of these little tales that demonstrates that our MPs consider themselves to be entitled to live in quite another world from the rest of us.