EXPENSES

I apologise.  When I come across an issue that I think is unfair I find it hard to let go.  I’m not into politics which probably makes me a little ignorant but it’s a fact. My children however do understand politics and we all agree that EXPENSES is a particularly contentious .subject then I came across this article written by Val McDermid,

http://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2015/apr/01/why-crime-fiction-is-leftwing-and-thrillers-are-rightwing

I like Val.  I’ve never gotten over Wire in the Blood; it’s like you can’t forget your first love. Then she appeared on Pointless; I love Pointless and she’s a big fan of P.D. James. I realise I’m gushing and my writing is a stream of words tumbling down a hilltop. If I had to choose two people to be stuck in a lift with it would be Adam Levine (he could sing to pass the time away) and Val because me and Adam could sit in a circle and she could weave a dark, macabre tale. Lovely.

A member of parliament gets a generous salary.  Yes the hours are long but so are doctors, nurses, ambulance drivers, teachers; the list is very long. There’s no longer an easy job.

Politicians need to look smart; I think that applies to most jobs; if you don’t have to be smartly dressed then you need to be trendy and that’s as costly if not more expensive.

They might have to travel a long distance from their home to their constituency; any one who works in London but doesn’t reside in London has to travel.

Austerity, we are all in it together, b_ll_cks!

Buy your own clothes, pay your own travel expenses. Window cleaning, house cleaners, gardeners, second homes, are not expenses they are luxuries.   Whatever party you’re in stop fiddling expenses.

If you have to fly to another country as part of your job then that is an expense.

If you have to stay at a hotel because it is physically impossible to travel home then that is an expense but it should be reasonably priced.

If you use your car to travel to a work related destinations then reimbursement of  petrol is valid,

Lunch is not an expense unless you have to legitimately entertain a visitor.

Politicians should set an example, we should look up to them, our children should aspire to be them.  If Miliband wants my trust, my vote, I need to know that he is not claiming flouncy expenses inappropriately and by inappropriate I don’t mean what he is legally allowed to claim I mean what is fair to claim.  Dry cleaning, clothes, working lunches it has got to stop. It’s not their money.  They are entrusted to look after public money not wine and dine on it, top up petrol tanks and catch cabs.  The expenses rule book needs to be rewritten and expenses must have detailed receipts.  If I had my way it would be a working spreadsheet open for the public to view so we could see how many bottles of wine have been downed and if starters and dessert are included. The amount of times I’ve told my kids ‘sorry, our budget doesn’t stretch to dessert, or, we can’t afford to take our Irish visitors out we’ll have to do a homemade buffet.  In our house if you don’t have a coupon you wait till Christmas (slight exaggeration).

I’m not envious of rich people, good luck to Cameron if he’s minted.  Why shouldn’t he holiday and enjoy himself with his family if he can afford to. He can’t stop living because people are homeless.  If I had a little extra I’d go on an all-inclusive to Turkey and not feel guilty.  The principal is spend your personal income that you have earned or are entitled to from the state however you see fit but don’t skim off the top.  Think about it, if the ordinary working person, struggling to make ends meat can’t claim, then a upwardly mobile MP certainly shouldn’t.

I’ve been watching Suits about an American law firm. To become a partner a lawyer has to be invited and then make a considerable financial contribution to the company’s funds to show they are committed.  If anything MPs should be making a donation to their own party to support it.  Maybe this already happens?  I don’t know.  What I do know though is what is right and wrong and at this point in time my biggest concern is that the people we have elected to govern our country can’t differentiate.

George Monbiot’s article ‘Wealth creators are robbing our most productive people’, in yesterday’s Guardian really struck a cord. He talks about his peers and how good their intentions were originally to make the world a better place but instead of following their dreams they became seduced by large salaries and perks.  He describes how ‘they soon adjusted their morality to their circumstances.’  I think this is what’s happening to our politicians; sure they start off trying to save the world but once they come to terms with the enormity of the challenge and realise it’s easier to blame the opposition than actually resolve problems, they comfort themselves with a slap up lunch paid by us.

If Miliband were elected, once he got comfy in number 10 how do we know Mrs Miliband won’t feel the need to update the kitchen? How do we know he won’t have a moving in party but he doesn’t buy his own campaign. How quickly will the stresses of work and long hours convince him that he’s entitled and deserving because his job is so important?

I want to elect a party who don’t bang on repeatedly about how everything is the opposition’s fault. If one of my children repeatedly blamed the kid he dislikes in school for things not panning out I’d know I’ve gone wrong as a parent.  It’s a spoilt kid thing, it’s embarrassing. Forget what’s happened historically, work on the here and now and learn from past mistakes be they yours or someone else’s; blame is a waste of time and energy and you shouldn’t get paid for being a waster.

Politicians should accept that the house they live in is their home, their responsibility, not the taxpayers. Try to get to and from work independently. Carers currently pay for the petrol they use getting from one vulnerable person to the next, they are on minimum wage.  It’s scandalous that politicians dip into public funds while carers are worn to the bone.

Val McDermid’s Tony Hill would be a more morally responsible leader than the choices the electorate is currently faced with. How do you vote when you don’t trust any of the runners? I am perplexed.  I miss Gordon Brown, I don’t know what mistakes he made but I trusted him, I felt his heart was in the right place. We need a leader with a big conscience and a firm hand.  A leader who pays for his lunch out of his own pocket.

Be happy. T.

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