Thursday, June 18, 2009


Sitting here diddling filling out my expenses for Smell the Profit, I thought I'd see if I could pick up any tips from my local MPs. As you probably know, our democratic representatives' claims were published online today, but with all the juicy bits censored.

Now, this is not meant in any way to be a slur on Dr Ladyman or Sir Roger, both of whom are generally regarded as good constituency MPs. Yes, Roger does have some bonkers idea about building a train station at Manston to serve fewer than 12,000 passengers a year. And then there was that iffy £25K donation from the China Gateway people to Ladychap's South Thanet Labour lot. But nobody's perfect (present company excepted).

A quick trawl through the Gale books elicited piles of bills for BT, Vodafone, postage, food... all the usual stuff really. I'm not sure I'd be able to get away with fitted bedroom wardrobes, though, or nearly £3,000 for a website. Let alone £300 for the annual use of Birchington Methodist Church's car park and £60 for advertising in the local parish magazine. And £340 for a bust dunnie. Still, it's my £137,337 and he can do what he likes with it I suppose.

Moving on to Our Steve, he frequently tells us he publishes his expenses on his website, although I'm buggered if I could find them there earlier. His 2007-8 claims also cover the normal-for-an-MP costs like, er, mortgage, utilities, council tax, insurance and publicity, including £300 for a half page appearance in Ramsgate FC's footie programmes. Indeed, he seems to have spent a remarkably similar amount to Roger - £137,559. If I was a cynical sort, I might even imagine these MP chaps were putting in claims based on some kind of mythical annual 'allowance' rather than actual expenditure. A monthly claim for precisely 250 quidsworth of petty cash from Steve does nothing to dispel that notion.

Hmm. I'm not sure I'm going to be able to stiff the Polish Cheese Board with any of that lot. But then the old Eastcliff fridge is currently stocked to the rafters with Oscypek so there's always a silver, if somewhat whiffy, lining!

Roger's expenses
Steve's expenses


Anonymous said...

There is villainy and then there is sanctimonious villainy. The first type you know you did it and hope to get away with it. The second type you know you did it and expect to get away with it.

In the Army Air Corps years ago there was an excellent scam based on the moral inferiority of officers. Officer helicopter pilots were susceptible to persuasion to enhance their flying logs by recording more time than they had actually flown.

Their flying hours under the belt figures were an indication of how much aviation gasoline would have been used.

So the amount recorded as put in for refuelling would match the flying time ? But in fact be somewhat less. Meaning 130 Octane petrol was thus availed for the NCOs to flog.

Even without a marketing expert the REME NCOs knew that a selling point was the completely bogus claim it would make cars go quicker.

So the bowser lorry would be topped up by pouring in jerrycans of packed avgas that on paper had been used on missions already. Then the bowser became a mobile filling station for any infantry etc in the locale wishing to fill up on cheap petrol.

Then came an audit. Two compounds of full avgas jerrycans that should have been empty plus a full bowser. Could not flog the stuff quick enough to keep the stock matching the flying hours and refuel figures.

Luckily the discrepancy so was huge the auditors concluded there had been some major procurement records cock up.

But the SIB nosing at certain NCOs who had new cars and high interest local authority bond investments were sceptical. That is until they were persuaded to the view that exposing disciple of Sandhurst officers for falsifying their flying logs might not be conducive to military and officer corps morale.

And the officers did not make a penny out of it. Win win situation.

But the NCOs did not expect to get away with it as a God given right. They just thought they should have a contingency plan in case the SIB came knocking.

Someone had the brilliant idea of having a mutiny. Then mistaking SIB for intruding IRA and beating the crap out of them.

A couple of years later (after the well heeled young NCOs had left the Army to pursue civilian occupations) the Officer Commanding the unit where the sam ran ... he was kidnapped by the IRA. Who contacted the national press prior to releasing him unharmed as more use to the IRA cause left in situ as an officer in the British Army.

Always wondered if we had sold an IRA man petrol and his valves burnt out. Because of the nature of a strange message to press. Those lions who flogged us iffy petrol were being led by donkeys. Nothing changes.

Compared to MPs we were so virtuous.

Adem said...

Phew that was a long comment. The thing with the expenses is that there are loopholes there that allow for this and the MPs are within their rights to do this. It may not be moral, and it is our money they are using, but at present the majority have done nothing wrong... damn.

I was having a think about the MPs who swith their properties to avoid capital gains tax and I thought that maybe if I could do that then I definitely would. But then I realised that in no way would I ever own a house paid for by the taxpayer and which I got done up by the taxpayer, and then which I was able to sell for maximum profit. Stuff 'em I say.

James Maskell said...

Where I work, receipts are required for every penny claimed on petty cash. Where are Ladyman's receipts? Such a round number seems very suspect.

80 quid cleaning costs is odd. Do the staff in the Labour Pasrty not know how to clean their own offices? Disney stationary was put as well. I guess the money was worth it for the laugh of seeing it in the receipts published yesterday.

Gales not completely innocent either. The parking charge I think is fine given the difficulties with transport, the church is neighbouring the office and so a charge is reasonable. Redecorating is a choice not a necessity and so should be covered from his own pocket.