Sunday, 13 December 2009

A bit of this and a bit of that, and another greedy MP

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.


  1. Shadow Minister, not Secretary. He is in the frontbench Defence team, along with Dr Julian Lewis, Dr Andrew Murrison, Lord Astor and Lord Luke.

  2. He sounds a bit right wing even for the Tories, the sort of chap that sets libertarian hackles rising whenever they open their mouth. Corrupt too, well he is a politician after all, though that ought not to be an excuse. Just shows that if the Tories win, lifes not going to change much.

  3. It makes all the difference that he is only a shadow minister and not a shadow secretary of sate, Not! Semantics like that do not alter the facts that he clearly is quite happy to feather bed his nest at taxpayers expense. I do not think that people who oppose that arms trade should hang their heads in shame, as he suggests, but that MPs who clearly abuse the expenses system certainly should and should either have the decency to quit or be sacked.

    Interesting his comments on this not being a Muslim country and how any Muslims who are not totally happy with the way things are in this country, including ones who were born here should go somewhere else. I’m wondering if he thought that way between 1977 and 1981 when he worked for the European Arab Bank. I’m assuming he probably did not mean Muslims with millions of pounds who would be quite happy with the greedy, grasping and exploitative regime of his heroine Mrs Thatcher but instead meant the ones who drove buses and cleaned toilets and earned no minimum wage (because the Great Leaderine did away with it) and thus might have cause, along with millions of white Britons, to be unhappy with the same regime.

  4. I fully expect that things will change when the nasty party gets back the keys to Number 10: but for the worse and not for the better. People like Mr Howarth are still legion in that party, that is to say anti-everything but themselves and their ilk.

  5. Welcome to Munguin's Republic Working Class Tory. Nice to see you.

    I apologise for promoting Mr Howarth. I hope Mr Cameron doesn't make the same mistake. I'm really surprised he's still there. He has refused to pay back money; he indignantly said that his reason was that he could earn far more money if he went back to his previous job as a city banker. He claimed over £100,000 in second homes allowance over the parliamentaty period 2003/4-2007/8 when his consituency is Aldershot, from where thousands of people travel up to London every day. He says that people expect him to behave like the "squire of the manor". Ye gads matey, where do you get these people from?

    I think he should go back to his previous job. I wonder why he left it.

  6. QM:

    The sad thing is that with politics the way it is in this country, things will never change. The Tories may be a little more hard line on somethings, and a little softer on others, although it's hard to see where. Traditionally, it seems the Tories were pretty soft on the rich, and pretty hard on the poor, but then a Labour government comes along and lets the City run roughshod over all the rules of financial probity, and at the same time does nothing about pensions being linked to fixed inflation figures, and starts pushing sick people off their enhanced wefare payments and on to unemployment benefit at a time when even able-bodied, recently working people can't find a job.

    I wonder what change we can expect from the Tories. With a man like Howarth in charge we certainly can't expect a pull back from any war. He seems to positively relish the idea. Maybe he thinks he's Churchill.

    Can you blame some of us for wanting an independent Scotland?

  7. Well said Munguin.

    You're spot on with that comment, well, both comments.

    When, oh when will these people stop saying stupid things like 'Britian is a Christian country!' It isn't. It's supposed to be a free country. It WAS a Christian country in the days where you followed the religion (and the sect of the religion) of the King or you got your head chopped off. Hopefully we have moved on from there.

    If Mr Howarth is indeed a Christian, which I doubt very much, then he wouldn't be engaged in lining his own pockets, and he might have read about what Jesus did to the money changers, and about that bloke from Samaria!

    Although I'm not a Christian my mother is. And she's a real one. She and Mr Howarth are a million miles apart in their outlooks.

    I really hate pompous twerps who hijack religions and attach themselves and their values to them. Maybe a read of the Bible (in Howarth's case and other holy books in others' cases) would be an idea.


    There are some interesting comments from Mr Howarth's constituents here.