Wednesday, 20 May 2009


There aren’t many stories that are genuinely in the public interest but the Telegraph has hit the jackpot with the parliamentary expenses story – in more ways than one – there were hardly any copies left in the newsagent.

What is really annoying me the most is not that they did it but their attitude. It is clear that most of those caught out seem to have an attitude that operating within the rules abrogates any form of moral judgement or even commonsense. The comment that finally caused me to shout at the radio was from Tam Dalyell who tried to claim for bookshelves worth £18,000 two months before he retired (Google him on the Telegraph’s website if you want to see the rest). This was turned down and he was “only” allowed £7,800. His comment was, “The bookcases were needed for all the Hansards I’d collected. I also do a lot of obituaries and wanted them to be in order. And indeed my political books.”

In the real world when you retire you get a card and perhaps there is a whip round for a gift. This is what so many of us feel is so astounding.

There are many very hard-working MPs and it is a pity that they are all being caught up in this whether guilty or not. It is also a pity that there are genuine expenses which are now being made to look suspect. I hope that the story hasn’t got much longer to run – I am hoarse from shouting at the radio.

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