Monday, May 11, 2009

Cameron's 'Sorry' Shows Up Brown

Tory leader David Cameron has been quick to say sorry and urged MPs caught out in the expenses sham to apologise, as revelations turn the spotlight on top Tories, now under fire after the relentless battering of New Labour ministers. Showing bunkered Brown and his bunch of greedy cronies how it should be dealt with, some Tory peers now reckon only a general election can clear the rotten air. 

The Telegraph's revelations reveal a handful of top Tories living it up on the Westminster gravy train of shame but none can hold a candle to the widespread flipping over second homes which is dogging Brown's cabinet and low-life ministers. 

Cameron was in like a shot last night, shortly after the Telegraph story broke, saying his MPs must say sorry over controversial expenses claims. That's a far cry from the dithering and moronic performance of battered bunkered Brown, as the disgusting second homes allowance scam engulfs his greedy bunch of chancers. 

In a sideways snipe at Brown and his New Labour crooks who've hidden behind the rotten rules, blaming "the system", Cameron said: "The public are really angry and we have to start by saying, look, this system that we had, that we used, that we operated, that we took part in - it was wrong and we're sorry about it."

The revelations are deeply embarrassing for some greedy Tories. They got it coming to them and deserved to be named and shamed. Some are promising to pay back their ill-gotten gains. 

Alan Duncan must be cursing the day he dangled a gold-plated Smith-style bath-plug on Have I Got News For You - not a good idea - and Cameron seems to be genuinely hopping mad about the whole affair. But it's not as bad for the Tories as some had feared and others had wished. 

As the Orange Party and others have been pointing out - as well as the bung it all on expenses culture, it is the flipping and fiddling of second homes to exploit the expenses system and milk it dry which is at the centre of the scandal. 

Some senior Tories have come out of it with rotten egg on their faces and should hang their heads in shame but there's nothing in the revelations to touch the wholesale shameful practice of the New Labour cabinet and ministers. Though the Telegraph has yet to reveal the scale of any back-bench Tory scams.

The Telegraph claims Michael Gove and Andrew Lansley both "flipped" properties designated as their second homes to claim for multiple properties at the taxpayers' expense. 

Other senior Tories who made dodgy claims include Alan Duncan claiming thousands for gardening and Oliver Letwin claiming £2,000 to replace a pipe under his tennis court. 

But Gove does seem to have been unfairly branded a "flipper" on his second home designation and just moved homes. 

What no one wanted to hear was another round of bleatings of the tired New Labour line that it was "all within the rules". Cameron didn't disappoint. He said sorry. 

Acknowledge it, say sorry, pay any money back where appropriate, sort it out properly, move on.

Top Tories who punters may have heard off - Cameron and Hague - have come up squeaky clean, though shadow chancellor Osborne, had the cheek to claim for a chauffeur using his office allowance.

Meanwhile the spinning over a "new" audit unit revealed by Blair's knighted MP Sir Stuart Bell which was flammed up yesterday is being shot down in flames as nothing more than a smokescreen and part of a "Labour plot" to keep MPs' allowances under wraps in the future, according to the Times

Cameron's lot have got off lightly but then they would. At the heart is the rotten culture of a second homes scam, with greedy New Labour cronies in both Houses flitting and flipping away to feather their own nest.

After a decade of power, familiarity has bred contempt. Contempt breeds greed. Greed breeds corruption and with it the damning, damaging end-game of a fag-end government and morally corrupt ministers. 

The doomed New Labour project is rotting in its own Brown mess. Only a general election now can clear the air.

In highly unusual moves for peers, former commons deputy speaker, Tory Lord Naseby, said parliament had been brought "right down into the pits" and should be dissolved if the expenses scandal continues to rumble on, leaving a fresh vote and general election the only option. And, as William Rees-Mogg puts it in today's Times: "A new prime minister, a new parliament and a new speaker would help to restore public confidence."

UPDATE 10am: After hiding in the bunker for a couple of days Brown finally got round to saying 'sorry'. Sort of. A tad too late old chap.

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