Monday, February 09, 2009

Who Will Rid Us Of Corrupt Ministers?

Revelations of two homes secretary Smith's  shameful fiddling of MPs' expenses isn't going away, despite the best efforts of government to play it down and hardly a whimper from the Tories. But the bleatings centre on a 'morally dubious' practice. This squalid corrupt sham should be stamped on and stamped out. 

The double standards of greedy government ministers was laid bare on the Today programme this morning, with treasury minister, Yvette Cooper, having the barefaced cheek to talk about the moral duty of bankers and their obscene bonuses. 

That's the same Cooper who along with hubby Ed was let off the hook over their second homes fiddle and John Humphrys to his credit was in like a shot and having none of it. 

Cooper launched into the defence that she and Balls, like Smith hadn't broken any rules and were only claiming what they were entitled to. What utter nonsense. 

Smith has been caught out using  MPs' homes expenses in a squalid rip-off at the taxpayers' expense along with Balls and Cooper. No wonder Brown made such a monumental balls up when the vexed issue of MPs' expenses was raised in the commons. 

Brown's favourite cabinet couple, Ed Balls and wife Yvette Cooper claimed they had been able to "maximise" their taxpayer-funded second homes allowances, by claiming their London home was their main home.

The same trick the home secretary Jacqui Smith used, claiming her West Midlands family home is her second home, while lodging with her sister in London and claiming that is her first home. 

If that's not cabinet corruption, it's difficult to know what is.

Cynics argue that the Tories are keeping their heads down because they're certainly not whiter than white but that misses the point entirely.

Conservative MPs are just that, MPs, with only a small group paid to do the job of challenging the government. It's the same argument that doesn't hold water when Brown attacks the Tories as the 'do nothing party'. What can they do? They're not the government - yet. 

An MP fiddling expenses is one thing. But the tight cabal of cabinet ministers and pay-roll MPs is the government. On the one hand politically posturing with righteous statements and on the other milking the system for all it's worth at the taxpayers expense. 

"Morally dubious practice" for sure, but ministers on the take is nothing short of a commons scam.

Guido has the tip of one 'anti-corruption group', the Centre for Open Politics, now lodging a formal complaint about Smith's expenses fiddle, raising the interesting but totally unrealistic prospect of a police investigation into the home secretary. 

That's a start but it needs a political heavy weight to demand formal commons action, if this squalid matter isn't going to fizzle out all together. 

Yesterday the Orange Party made the point that in any other circumstances ministers caught playing these dirty tricks would be forced to resign but with ministers now so wrapped up in their own arrogance and self-interest and with the full backing of Brown, it seems anyone in a position of power caught fiddling expenses can easily ride out the storm.

And that leaves a very nasty taste in the mouth.

UPDATE: Tory leader, David Cameron, has warned that Smith "may have to answer some questions" about her expenses, which is probably as far as Mr Angry will go on this one.

Picture: Tractor Stats

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