New Horizons in Infamy, as the Telegraph reveals that one Labour MP tried to claim £5 to put in the plate in Church. The whole country is now one seething cauldron of self-righteous rage and scorn, aimed at MP’s. Now we know all about their garden gnomes, tennis courts, staplers, dictation machines, chocolate santas, envelopes, and dogfood. Hang on, staplers dictaphones and envelopes, are legitimate office expenses. But what the hell, they’re MP’s and they should pay it all back anyway.
MP’s allowance fraud is a really significant story, and it was very important to draw it to public attention, and all dishonest politicians everywhere should be held to account, espeically the ones who have been playing hooky with houses. That said, Some of our boldest crusaders for righteousness have their own dirty underwear, and I don’t just mean their lunch expenses.
The last owner of the Daily Telegraph, for example, has been inside for fraud, having charged such items as FDR memorabilia and Cardinal Richelieu costumes up to his expenses. The way in which various present Fleet Street owners flip their homes for tax purposes is not as well known as it could be. It takes one to know one, I suppose. Squirming under a shower of filth, England tried to cheer itself up by following the antics of breakdancing East End pensioner Fred Bowers:
But now we learn, allegedly, Fred has been claiming £70 a week Disability benefit. He says his left leg is in fact disabled, a kind of still point in a turning world thing. This is giving me some misgivings about flooding parliament with unknowns and retired celebs.
People who aren’t atually MP’s can apparently be as bent as people who are. The Fall turns out to be stone cold sober truth; to quote the late great Noel Coward “Everybody is bent, Camp Freddie.”
Here’s the heart of the matter. We could develop yet more labarynthine and draconian regulations, guidelines and allowances to stop this kind of behaviour, but I’ve another suggestion. Brits have gotten into the habit of treating the ten commandments as obsolescencies in our Secular Brave New World, but they do have a certain resonance just now. “Thou shalt not steal.” “Thou shalt not bear false witness.” “Thou shalt not covet.”
Not exactly rocket science, are they?
But they do seem to reach some of the parts that regulations, guidelines and codes of practice don’t.