Thursday, 22 July 2010


The problem of MPs’ expenses just won’t go away, as rumblings on the back benches of, in particular, the Conservative party (according to this article) are showing. The new Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) set up with such fervour only months ago is causing consternation as it gets things wrong, upsets people, makes mistakes, and behaves like most other organizations in their early days.

However, of course, this organization is not like any other. Its customers aren’t “ordinary people”: they are MPs. And MPs are used to deference and respect. They are not used to being messed about. The kind of mistakes that are regularly made by the Jobcentres, the Child Support Agency or the Tax Credit people is, for the first time, being visited upon MPs. And they are not happy.

Part of Cameron’s problem is that his backbenchers are not happy about so many other things. They are unhappy about the cavalier way in which he attempted to take over th
e 1922 Committee; they are unhappy that there can be no tax cuts; they are unhappy that they have to have a referendum on AV; they are unhappy that the Deputy Prime Minister is a Liberal; they are unhappy that some of their leading lights expecting their moment of glory as ministers of cabinet ministers are languishing on the back benches to make way for Liberals; they are unhappy that they are obliged to travel second class with “ordinary people”; they are unhappy about having to provide receipts like “ordinary people”, and they are unhappy that they are faced with problems usually reserved for “ordinary people”.

Some of them would like to emulate the Lords with flat rate expenses of £300 a day paid whether you spend £3 or £3000. But clearly this is a non starter, as the idea of providing MPs with money just for turning up for their work, when other people are taking pay cuts, is a big ask.

Of course it’s not jus
t the Tories who are complaining; they are just complaining the loudest. Labour members are maybe concerning themselves with whether it’s Thoroughly Modern Millie or Millie Light, based on which does the less repulsive impersonation of Blair’s accent. The Liberals are just intoxicated that their leader took Prime Minister’s Questions the other day... and expenses wasn’t an issue for any of the other parties.

But one Scots MP (so it was unlikely to be a Tory) is reported to have complained that the compliance officer hired by IPSA was an ex-fraud detective from the Met, whose presence was an implied slur on the reputation of all honourable members. Ha ha if!

Anyway, Cameron, who is faced with angry backbenchers on several fronts, is in an awkward position. He has now criticized the IPSA at a 1922 Committee meeting and in the House itself, but what can he do? He was so enthusiastically for it only a few months ago and co-operated fully with Labour in its inception. A U-turn so soon would make him look a bit of a pratt.

One cabinet minister is reported to have said that “we legislated in haste, and now we are stuffed”. (How eloquent.) Not for the first time Minister... It’s just that this is the first time that any of your lot have had to suffer the consequences of your slipshod, ill thought out, half assed legislation.

Enjoy! And don’t ask us for any sympathy.


  1. I suspect that you are preaching to the converted so expect nothing much of interest in reply !

  2. Aye... it won't get much in the way of comments. It's all be said before.

    I just needed to say it!

  3. It's still worth sayin tris. We cannae afford tae let them think we're no still angry at their shenanigans, no fer a meenit.

  4. Yep, I think that they are kinda counting on us doing the British thing...

    Cameron has already hinted that all the restrictions and rules will have to be watered down. The MPs have not voted the organization any money. Its days are numbered.

    We are supposed to forget all about the theft and it is just supposed to slip back into the old ways that they were all comfortable with.

    It has to be kept alive, adn the figures show that despite the lack of commenting, there's been a good readership for the post...

    We just must not let them away with this.