Monday, March 30, 2009

Smith Should Fall On Her X's

MPs are looking over their shoulders wondering if they'll be fingered in the next expenses scam, while the credibility of the home secretary lies in tatters. Brown won't lance the boil as the stench of corruption fills the air at Westminster. But it's a sorry state of affairs when a beleaguered home secretary cannot make serious statements of state, without everyone sniggering behind her back.

Many in Westminster thought Smith's second home allowance claim was enough to finish her off. But that was before the revelations over employment minister, Tony McNulty, claiming for his parents' house, took the heat off the squalid Smith affair.

Instead it is the damaging revelations over two homes secretary Smith’s husband’s penchant for pay-per-view porn on the taxpayer which is increasing speculation over Smith's future as home secretary. Many want a scalp and Smith could be the fall-guy.

Already under fire and under investigation, Smith had her family's dirty washing hung out in public in another nice 'n sleazy Sunday. The sight of her No 1 letter-writing fan, husband Richard Timney, forced to come out and apologise to the assembled hacks was a sorry spectacle, with speculation it may now force him to go out and look for a proper job. 

Ministers can often ride out the storm of sleaze but only for so long and only when there's a half-respected prime minister whose inevitable backing often kills a story and the scandal that lies beneath. Brown's support for his home secretary means diddly-squat.

A culture of stick it all on expenses and stick two fingers up to taxpayer threatens to embroil the government tarred with the brush as the Party of Sleaze.

The timing of the revelations could not have come at a worse time and that may prove crucial to Smith’s survival. 

And it's getting much worse as all MPs' claims are published. 

MPs are breaking out in a sweat over the commons publication of a list of expenses claimed by MPs, with New Labour MPs caught in the 'McNulty Triangle' shown up to be amongst the most expensive and worst culprits. 

That's prompting some to ask if there's a mole at work, leaking juicy titbits ahead of publication. 

Anger has turned to ridicule as hapless ministers are rounded on, turning them into a figure of fun. But this joke of a government is no laughing matter. The damage of ridicule can be far-reaching.

The 'angry brigades' are set to take to the streets this week as police throw down a £7m taxpayer-funded security cordon, locking down the capital for a pointless  G20 charade. The home secretary could well be called on to make a public statement while at the same time having to fend off questions about hubby's choice in videos and her signed-off expenses claims. 

And how can Smith be taken seriously when launching one of her holier-than-thou crusades against pornography, prostitution and lap-dancing? 

Smith was always destined to be the disposable home secretary. No threat to Brown's leadership, she popped up from nowhere and was handed the poisoned chalice of the home office. She's not exactly Ms Popular and stands no chance of holding onto her Redditch seat at the next general election. 

MPs are now seen as fair game and it's getting right up their noses. LibDems are smug with a blanket ban on second homes expenses for their London MPs but Tories are easy targets.  Pickles has already got himself in a pickle showing himself up as another porker with his snout in the second homes expenses trough. 

Under normal circumstances, hiring a couple of porno films whilst Smith was not at home, would have aroused a little titter at breakfast.

But  that expense claim was  made  from a home secretary already under scrutiny for fiddling her second homes expenses and having the cheek to claim for everything but the kitchen sink. And that comes on top of McNulty, up to his neck in a similar scam.

The relentless exposing of ministers caught up in squalid expenses scams and sleaze are a Major sign of a government in decay. 

Public anger over MPs' expenses is reaching fever pitch but often can be batted way by ministers hiding behind the blind arrogance of commons rules with no shred of common decency. But when that anger is replaced by ridicule and satire, it's a clear sign the game is up. 

The Orange Party senses a mood at Westminster that some MPs are looking for someone to be thrown to the wolves to assuage voters and unpopular and ridiculed Smith could be that hapless victim. 

UPDATE: Figures released today show Smith claimed around £23,000 in expenses during a single year for her second home, in total claiming £157,631, that's £33,000 more than the prime minister.

Picture: Daily Mail


Oldrightie said...

Jaqui visits the bunker!

The Flying Spaghetti Monster said...

Only one word for you, Jacqboots. Guillotine.