As posted at the now Derek-Draper free LabourList
What is there to say about the expenses row that has not been said? None of this is particularly original but it seems:
1. Although much outrage flew at the time of Jacqui Smith’s DVD slip some weeks ago, in retrospect the Home Secretary was unfortunate to be “outed” before the deluge of detail that now threatens to engulf the whole political process in the UK. Comparing the porn overpayment to what’s come out since is like saying that the Albert Memorial is the same thing as a dead cat buried in the garden.
2. None of the claims exposed in lurid detail have been disallowed, showing what a lax regime this has been
3. It’s not just a case of “it looks bad”, it is a pretty bad state of affairs that this system has been used as to supplement what most of the country would consider to be a perfectly good basic MP’s salary of £60k+
3. Now that Tory claims (a better class of claim than dry rot and gingernut biccies if I my say so) are emerging, David Cameron must be furious that the lavish expenditure on country estates has cancelled out what he’s been trying to do to persuade voters that the 21st century Tories are not toffs. Piano-tuning, moats, porticos, swimming pools? How the other half lives eh?
4. There’s a worry that smaller extermist parties will benefit from the disarray that the biggies are in. Andrew Neil was interviewing Nick Griffin on tv this lunchtime around the launch of the BNP’s manifesto. Not an eyelid was batted, let alone “no platform”. 2nd generation Indian co-presenter Anita Anand sat on the sofa throughout.
5. Gordon Brown’s apology is proof, if proof were needed, that Gordon Brown is not pathologically incapable of saying sorry – contrary to popular rumour.
6. The speaker aka Michael Martin has proved he’s past his sell-by date. Even before his bizzare rebuke of Kate Hoey, his conduct on this has been out of order. If we interpret the function of the Speaker as upholding MP’s interests, he’s done a ruddy good job. If he is supposed to defend democracy/ accountability / transparency he’s been a flop. John Prescott was sometimes snobbishly accused of being clumsy with his phrasing but Gorbals Mick makes Prezza look like a picture of eloquence.
Hoey was only pointing out that going for the Telegraph/ mole will look like missing the point to the general public. She is right. Never mind Polly Tonybee on Newsnight blathering on wanting Gordon Brown’s head. Her panicy volte face from tomorrow’s Guardian was being trailed by Paxo as an exclusive when it’s been online all of today. In any case it is speaker Martin who must go. I am not usually in agreement with the Daily Mail but their editorial “Speaker Martin must go” hits the nail on the head.
PS The title above is taken from a phrase popular in 1980s school-set drama Grange Hill where it was used as a substitute for “f*** hell” which was more commonly heard in playgrounds of the time but could not be uttered at tea-time on BBC1. Flipping of course has taken on a whole meaning since Thursday.