Thursday, 4 February 2010


Everywhere there's lots of piggies
Living piggy lives;
You can see them out for dinner
With their piggy wives,
Clutching forks and knives to eat their bacon.

(Lennon, McCartney)

ACCORDING TO a report in The Times, The Crown Prosecution Service said that it would announce tomorrow possible criminal charges against several MPs and Lords.

Today we were told exactly how much MPs have been ordered to repay in “misclaimed” expenses. It emerged that MORE THAN HALF OF OUR MPs, including the leaders of the three main political parties, had broken the rules.

364 MPs have been ordered to pay back £1.12 million, claimed between April 2004 and March 2009.

Barbara Follett, a junior English minister, owed the largest amount, over £44,000 for mobile private security patrols outside her home and insurance for her art collection. Who on earth does this idiot woman think she is?

Anthony Steen, who responded to criticism of his £87,000 claims on his estate with the now infamous lines: "I think I have behaved impeccably. You know what it's about? Jealousy. I have got a very, very large house", has had to repay £11,211.75, including a £28.50 for a flagpole. Now how could he do his job without a flagpole?

Douglas Hogg, who claimed for cleaning his moat, has also lost his appeal and repaid in full the £20,639.42 that Thomas Legg judged him to owe. I hope he doesn’t do anything silly like jump in his moat. He’d only need to get it cleaned again.

Iris Robinson, the granny we all love to hate, had to repay £544.90 towards the cost of a new bed, as mentioned earlier on this blog by Anon. Teenage boys can be so boisterous, don’t you think Iris dear?

Oddly Keith Vaz, who was claiming more than £75,500 in expenses for a flat in Westminster even though his £1.15 million family home is only 12 miles from parliament, has repaid £18,949.82, more than twelve times the £1,514 he owed.

Details have been also been published concerning the hire of banqueting rooms in the Palace of Westminster. Among them, Patricia Hewitt is shown to have hosted several dinners for health companies. She has become a special consultant to Boots and to Cinven since being sacked as Health Secretary. Hewitt, I can barely say your name without wanting to vomit.

Around 13 sitting MPs are still waiting for their appeals against Legg’s verdict to be heard including Liam Fox, the Shadow Defence Secretary, who over-claimed £24,878.27. Fox's position in the Shadow Cabinet may be in doubt if Paul Kennedy (the appeals judge) rules that he is liable to pay.

Gordon Brown was ordered to repay £12,888 for cleaning. How dirty can you be to need that much cleaning? Bernard Jenkin, who had to repay £63,000 for renting a home from his brother's wife had his claim reduced to £36,909.17. Keep it in the family Bernard.

Thomas Legg, who wrote the report into expenses, condemned the Commons authorities who refused to reform the expenses system, the MPs who used their influence and superior position to browbeat low-paid Commons officials into allowing excessive claims and the officials themselves who failed to enforce proper standards. Personally I think that was a bit unfair on the lowly paid officials, who had apes like Michael Martin roaring at them.

Politicians wonder why there is little interest in politics when they behave like this. Just how thick are they?


  1. How much do you want to bet that no criminal charges will be brought against any of the little piggies?

    I wonder if Lennon and McCartney had a time machine when they wrote that song or as is more likely that things just have not changed all that much- just different piggies.

  2. Oink Munguin.

    I really hope that there will be charges, but like you I doubt it very much.

    No, I'm sure that Lennon and McCartney had no time machine, for all their money. It's just, as the French say: Plus ça change, plus c’est pareil.

    In short, they were always at it; they just used to be a bit smarter at covering it up.

  3. Clearly not if Lennon and McCarney knew about it and wrote a song, kind of gives the game away.

  4. Well, a "bit" smarter. I doubt if there was anything like the level of knowledge of what was going on as there is today... and even today we don't know a hundredth of it....

  5. You mean Iceberg syndrome (more than 75% is unseen)

  6. Whenever I see John Reid on tv I no longer see the self styled 'hard man'. Instead I remember some of his expenses. Glittery black toilet seat, oven mitts (£9.50) pouffee ( footstool surely -not very PC at £199) and bucket ( 99p).
    All essential for him to carry out his parliamentary duties and paid for by us mugs.
    Mings scatter cushions at £100 each were quite sweet aswell.

  7. Elliot Morley, David Chaytor, Jim Devine and Lord Hanningfield charged over expenses fraud. Uddin investigation ongoing, Lord Clarke insufficient evidence

  8. Anon: Him and every other one of them. I can't hear one of them pontificate without thinking of their expenses. The obvious ones we all know about; the less obvious ones, you wonder what they have stolen.

    I don't know anyone who doesn't think of the Commons as a huge very expensive comedy show.


    It's all a giant fairy tale. Or it would be if it didn't cost us an arm and a leg. And yet every reform has been watered down.

    And they want us to vote for them.....

    (PS: A glittery black toilet seat??.... eughhhh. He doesn't have a lot of taste for all his money, does he?)

  9. Bugger. Amazing news.

    Very disappointed to hear about Mr Clark, and hopeful about Mrs Uddin... Overjoyed about the rest of them though.

    I'm guessing that these are the scapegoats, thrown to us in the hopes we will be satisfied and won't ask for more.

    But I suspect it will be a long time before normal service will be resumed. In the Commons it certainly won't be till we have had to chance to sack the thieves; in the Lords, well, never, I suspect.

    They are even funnier. The Right Honourable and Noble Lord... my ass.

    Incidentally, I had a look at parliament TV last night and there was almost no one there in the Commons (where you get paid whether you turn up or not) for Environment Questions. (So if your MP tells you that the Environment is important to him, doubt him big time.)

    On the other hand, the Lords, where you have to turn up to get paid, was jam packed full for Transport Questions.

    Now, I wonder why that was......


  10. Guess I will be wrong then, but lets wait and see if they get anything like the 7 years mentioned or just a slap on the trotters.

  11. It will be interesting to see Munguin. But they must know that the eyes of the whole 4 countries and the world will be on the trials.

  12. Danny, 1st Earl of the OzarksFebruary 05, 2010 6:49 pm

    I've followed this issue as closely as I can, from afar.

    Interesting that the infamous moat cleaning guy (given your "Piggies" reference) is one Douglas HOGG. For pure arrogance (and not a little originality) I would choose Anthony Steen's claim that it's all just a matter of public jealousy about his "very, very large house."

    And for prurient interst, Mrs. Robinson surely takes the cake with her expensive bed. As you observed, nineteen year old lovers don't weigh more, but they do impose added dynamic loading on the structure. I would have also awarded her the ironic name award, but surely much has already been made of that, assuming "The Graduate" made its way to Britain.

    BTW Tris, what an amazing requirement for a legislative body (The Lords).....having to actually be there to get paid. Our C-Span channels televise the House and Senate sessions (and the Question Times in Parliament). Except when a few Senators pop in from time to time to vote a bill which has been reported out of committee, the Senate chamber is almost always deserted....a temporary presiding officer nodding off at the podium. (But the background music on C-Span is sometimes better than listening to a Senator drone on.)

  13. LOL Danny:

    Neat one... Douglas Hogg. He he he. Old Hogg is, in fact Viscount Hailsham. As well as being a bit of an old piggy.

    Steen is a beauty. Another snooty Tory, he was genuinely shocked that the hoi polloi should question his rights and delve into his private affairs even though it was them who were paying for them. Some people say it looks like Balmoral but it's a merchant's house from the 19th Century [...] We have a wretched Government here that has completely mucked up the system and caused the resignation of me and many others, because it was this Government that introduced the Freedom of Information Act and it is this Government that insisted on the things which caught me on the wrong foot."[
    He added in the same interview: "What right does the public have to interfere in my private life? None. A few hours later he apologized for over reacting, having had an interview with Dave Cameron!!!

    You’re right too about Mrs Robinson, and indeed Simon and Garfunkle’s hit is well known here, and has been much reproduced in connection with the affair !!!

    As for the Lords Danny, they were all there bust most of them looked as if they were asleep (lots are very old). Some of them might have been dead, despite the fact that... wait for it, you’ll love this.... It’s against the law to die in the lords..... So, if you’re thinking of doing it, don’t, otherwise you’ll be in trouble!!! OK?

    Hmmm. Background music would liven if up a bit. Really you miss everything else except these idiots addressing each other as “honourable” and “right honourable” and “noble” and “gallant” and “learned” and “reverend”... like any of them were any of these!!

  14. All this going on and Alex and nicky pull a stunt like 'THAT'

  15. Oh come on Niko. You can do better than that. Not even sure that there was anything wrong yet.

  16. Danny, 1st Earl of the OzarksFebruary 05, 2010 8:56 pm

    Tris...I love it that it took an interview with David Cameron to point out to Mr. Steen why the taxpayer subsidized expenses he claimed on his VERY VERY large house might properly be a matter of public concern. I'm surprised that he seems not to be (at least according to Wikipedia) an Honourable, Rt. Honourable, Lord, or Knight of the Realm. Utterly without post nominal letters, other than MP I guess, he's the only British politician I ever heard of who is not a member of the Privy Council. (I thought that perhaps all Britons were Privy Counsellors, LOL.) Anyway the guy seems to be a genuine commoner who has managed to escape all the Honours Lists. So one might say in his defense that he has never claimed to be "Honourable".

    American political scientists sometimes point out the supreme power of Parliament, unconstrained by a written constitution or a bill of rights. BUT....there's a rule that you can't die in the House of Peers??!! This is Parliamentary power run amok.

  17. Danny:

    I'm not sure what they do to you if you DO die in the House of Lords. Probably blackball you from the Carlton Club, I imagine. Or maybe there is a slur on your family for ever.

    Poor old Anthony is an Honourable Gentleman (as is every MP) ha ha ha. You see, in the Commons, members refer to each other as Honourable Members etc. out of courtesy, despite the fact that they are not entitled to the style in writing. Where a member is a barrister, he will instead be referred to as the learned Member with serving members of the military styled the gallant Member.

    “Real” Honourables are numerous... and it is best for me to refer you to our faithful friend Wikipedia for information on all the people entitled to be called honourable.

    As most of them are clearly anything but honourable, and would be more properly described as a bunch of cheating low life, this is laughable, but hey, if it amuses them, who cares.

    The title, Rt Hon is I think given to anyone who is a Privy Councillor.

    Steen was one of these plodding chaps who would probably never made it into government, being neither particularly bright, not in any way tactful, so the chances of him being a PC would be slim!!!

  18. The best one-liner of the whole scandal for me is:

    "You know what it is dont you? Jelousy, I have a very big house. Some people say its like Balmoral"

    Archh, release the hounds.

  19. 3 points for anyone [except you Tris] who knows which Tory grandee thought this was acceptable to say to his electors over radio!

  20. You've not been reading all the posts Dean... I told them that one half way down the thread...

    That's your free dinner with Eck cancelled!!!

  21. Lol, damn- I was looking forward to that! Can I get my £9000 back ;)

  22. Can you hell.... It's OURS....OURS....OURS...