Friday, May 08, 2009

How Much is a Moral Compass?

. . . and where do you buy one? No doubt if you're an MP it's from John Lewis and by the looks of the Prime Minister's expenses in this morning's Telegraph you definitely charge it to us, the taxpayer.

Apart from charging twice for his plumbing repairs, no doubt a genuine error, and trying to get his kid's blinds paid for I'm sure our PM has done nothing outside of the rules. Debating how daft are the rules will carry on even after the new ones eventually come into force, but that's to a large extent not the issue here. Gordon Brown has long wagged on about his moral compass, played up his standing as a son of the manse, I'm just an ordinary guy type stuff, yet what his expenses prove is that he is out for himself, and his family, and bugger us the tax payer. It's no defence to say it's 'within the rules' and"I'm the one who is going to change them."

Ten days after Blair announced he was standing down Brown switched his second home to that of his constituency house in Fife. In that way he's bagged a hat full of cash and is laughing all the way to the bank. He knew very well what he was doing. His moral compass should have said, hang on a minute, ordinary people can't move there properties around like a house on a Monopoly board. If you're a leader then you have to lead by example not just by telling others what to do, shouting the odds or claiming that you are a decent guy. What Gordon Brown has done is indefensible. Yes others from every party have done similar but he's the one at the top of the totem pole. And it's not just since he became PM. He elected to live in a flat while he was Chancellor, not in the grace and favour home he was entitled to. This enabled him to claim for it as his second residence and therefore build up his property portfolio.

So what do we have so far. A catalogue of ministerial nose-bagging led by the Vasco de Gama of MPs expenses who has regularly consulted his moral compass to ensure he remains just an "ordinary guy " and of course, "within the rules." It's just a pity he wasn't as prudent with the country's money as he's been with his own.


Birthday Girl said...

I listened to Harriet Harman this morning on Radio 4's 'Today' programme. The main thrust of her defence of MPs' expense claims (apart from trying to shove it all on the Tories by naming Derek Conway several times) seemed to be that our leaders aren't as corrupt (her word) as other countries' leaders! If that's all they aspire to, is it any wonder we're in such a mess?

Anonymous said...

They are all at it.

This is why Cameron is squirming and not saying very much.

How can we respect these people.

I have to say that although the Scottish parliament isn't perfect they seem to have a tighter rein on this nonsense.

On Harman, it is an indication of the calibre of politician in this country that she is being mentioned seriously as a future leader/PM.