Sunday, May 30, 2010

A Laws unto themselves

It's like last summer never happened. The expenses scandal which rocked the establishment and led to mass resignations and MPs being arrested was a figment of our perverse imaginations.

This new coalition we are being governed by appears to think that the election of them is enough to make us forget that it's our money they are stealing from us.

As Mr Laws MP said in the Western Gazette on the 17th October last year,

I believe strongly that all expenditure by MPs – whether it is on staffing and office costs, or for reimbursement of our own expenses – should be made available regularly for the scrutiny of those we are accountable to, our constituents.

I do not give one whether David Laws is gay, straight, asexual or transgender. I don't care if he's black, white, pink, northern or southern. What I care about is that someone who has seen the justifiable public outcry against the expenses MPs claim should then think it's okay that he gives £40000 to someone he is also giving one to.

Some of us can't afford one mortgage let alone have the opportunity to supplement our partner's lifestyle with tax payers cash.

It's also a demonstration of just how beige this new ConDem coalition is that both Clegg and Cameron jump to his defence.
Responding to Mr Laws' resignation letter, Mr Cameron said he was an "honourable man", adding: "I hope that, in time, you will be able to serve again."

Lib Dem Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said he had always admired Mr Laws' integrity and he hoped he would one day be able to return to government.

He said Mr Laws' privacy had now been "cruelly shattered".

Mr Cameron wrote: "The last 24 hours must have been extraordinarily difficult and painful for you.

"You are a good and honourable man. I am sure that, throughout, you have been motivated by wanting to protect your privacy rather than anything else.

"Your decision to resign from the government demonstrates the importance you attach to your integrity.

As the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister it would be nice if they, in reference to the fact that they are the servants of the people and were elected by us, would just occasionally leap to our defence. Is it too much to ask that we have in the government people who will just live by the rules? How is this man an example of someone with integrity? He's resigned over the scandal caused by his behaviour and there are people calling for his resignation as an MP.

Integrity? I'd hate to see the person Cameron and Clegg thought a bit dodgy.

And it really is one law for them and one for us. Just over a month after David Laws made a statement on expenses whilst lining the pockets of his lover, a staffordshire man was arrested for much the same thing.

A BENEFITS claimant has been jailed for two months after he failed to tell council officials about a change in his living arrangements.

David Griffiths, of Swansmoor Drive, Hixon, near Stafford, received just over £10,600 in housing and council tax benefit between August 2006 and December last year by claiming to be the only person living in his home. He also got more than £7,000 in income support.

Griffiths failed to tell Stafford Borough Council or the Department for Work and Pensions about a change in his circumstances.

The 39-year-old was actually living with a partner.

A click of the heels to Mark Croucher for pointing that one out.

All of this just confirms my believe that whilst this coalition may repeal a fews laws which I didn't like they are just papering over the cracks of our problem.

It's impressive in a way, though. Rebellions over the catastrophic increases in Captial Gains Tax, expenses scandals and resignations in the same month as the election: normally it takes years for a government to achieve this level of incompetence.