thanks richard, tory, luke and clare for some great conversation. special thanks to richard wilson whose thoughts gave me an angle for this cartoon.
Forrest transcribing for Kathy here:
What if you are the only one who knows that something has happened – are you casting the first stone by informing others?
Telling someone in a position of control?
Re: “The System”, contrary to popular stereotype, ‘systems’ have gone through change in getting to where they are and they can be changed.
Now being myself, “I’ll pay it back” and “I’m sorry” can represent taking personal responsibility for what has been done.
“It’s the system” can represent blame-shifting and accountability-shifting; as well as exertion avoidence. Umm, excuse me, ‘the system’ is a construct of mankind, and mankind constructed things can be changed to one degree or another.
Another take: “Where’s there’s blame, there’s no claim (to personal responsibility)”
Ohh, this ain’t gonna be politically correct –> just came to mind those societies where women have to be draped in black sacks because their looks will make men sin.
Men make themselves sin.
You Can Not sin for me – I have to do that myself.
But, hey, I ain’t got the spine and gonads to control myself, so I’ll blame the woman.
And then go and do whatever I please anyway.
Funny cartoon. This is one of the stories that has got me most mad recently. There must be consequences to be faced.
Nevertheless, it would be interesting to check in detail the expenses claims of some of the journalists who have been most vociferous throughout this story.
I couldn’t say that I have never claimed a penny I shouldn’t have – rounding up the mileage for the petrol claim? Personal printing on the work computer? Using the work computer to read blogs?
To be perfectly honest…I know the MPs concerned have taken advantage of the system. On the other hand, how many have had their lawn mower robbed and not claimed on the insurance for a couple of power tools? Who has not fiddled their expenses? Who has not pocketed the odd pen/pencil/writing pad from work? People are very good at convincing themselves that what they do is simply a ‘perk of the job’.
The big show of public confession and ‘flagellation’ is all very touching but what pees me off is that it is taking the attention of the w**nkers in the financial inddustry who have ruined innocent people’s lives and made times hard for everyone by their mismanagement. Perish the thought that they might give up their hefty bonuses/pensions. The MPs’ ‘fiddles’ amount to a drop in the ocean compared to the billions lost by the bankers. I fear we are losing sight of the real issues which ought to be concerning us.
I think the saddest thing about all of this is that no one would be shouting about the MP’s claims if the rest of the country were not feeling the pinch of the credit crunch. These claims have been going on for years but no one shouted about it because on the whole the country were “comfortable”. If what they have been doing is wrong, morally even if not legally, then someone should have brought it to light years ago and saved the country a whole host of money. Problem is that most journalists will only run a story if it is going to sell and if its going to be big.
it seems to me, so far, that a handful of mp’s have acted fraudulently, ie. claiming for the same house twice. this seems to me to be serious and a matter for the courts. but just about everyone else has behaved within the realms of ‘normal’. marcus is right about the media and carole is right about what the real focus should be.
Does anyone else think this is all a bit like Homer’s apology to his long-suffering wife, “Marge, i’m so sorry, i never thought you’d find out”?
I think that in many ways you are right Jonathan. In today’s society the biggest crime is not the wrongdoing, but getting caught. Is it any wonder that people have lost respect for leaders and institutions in today’s society? The trouble is that many churches are seen as institutions and get tarred with the same brush.
Normally MP’s would be pleased to have something to take our minds of off the credit crunch (i.e. swine flu).
Be careful what you wish for!
A few odd thoughts:
1. The system may be partly to blame but who allowed the system to come into being in the first place (one guess)?
2. Perhaps the MP’s broke the first commandment – no not that one but the one that’s says you shall not get caught.
3. I’m with Ian Hislop on this who quoted from a response in a national newspaper where an MP in a letter said there should be an independent organisation setup to investigate these claims – the reply being there is already one called the Fraud Squad.
4. Anyone any solutions to how to vote in the nextUK and the up coming Euro elections (I suspect Euro MP’s are even worse)? – I feel like I don’t want to vote for anyone at present but will be abrogating my responsibility if I go down that path. I could vote for the Greens but am not sure there competent enough for real world politics outside of Green issues or UK Ind but am not sure that there anymore trust worthy either. Won’t vote BNP for obvious reason. Seems I damned if I do and damned if I don’t.
5. Anyone think this situation is similar to that under which the Nazi’s came to power in Germany?
Can we scrutinise the journo’s expenses as well please…
I read yesterday that MEPs get paid 88,000 euro plus a bonus of 279 euro for every day they turn up to work!
I remember hearing Neal Kinnock (Euro MP) wages being quoted at aroound £130,000 per year with expenses on top of that. The expenses included frequent travel to Brussells obviously but if I remember correctly the total of them and his pay was just under £250,000 a year.
Perhaps I’m suffering from the politics of envy.
What worries me about all of this is that so many of the MP’s who’ve been accused of fiddling the system don’t seem to think they’ve done anything wrong. How can people with such limited understanding of ethics and morality be fit to create laws for the rest of us to live by?
miriworm… on your point 3. wherever there is a suggestion of fraud it should be dealt with by the fraud squad… i agree.
methinks though, that fraud is a minor part of what’s going on… for the most part it’s about people behaving the way most other people do at work. ever pocketed a biro by accident? or, worse, bought something from amazon with a work computer, or even looked at personal emails in work time when it ain’t you paying the electricity bill?
what we see here is the age old game of ‘planks and splinters’ played out on a large scale.
beatthedrum makes a great point. journo’s expenses would be far more fun to look at.
certainly, miriworm, the bnp (our own nazi party) will make significant gains as a result of all this fuss. i can’t help but think it could have been very different had the journos framed the story differently. responsibility for the mob mood in this country must also lie with them.
i take your point tony. but then who does make the laws? rather our messy bunch of politicians than the alternatives.
it is great that we have uncovered a propblem in political life… so now, let’s make better rules, sack the fraudulent minority, keep the majority of hard working people and move on… before we go and do something stupid as a country, like vote in something that really is evil, or worse, let it in through the back door through our apathy.
miriworm’s point 5 might seem extreme, but who really knows how many short steps a country has to take before it ends up a dictatorship or a police state? i don’t want us all to be so daft as to let that happen.
Jon – I understand what your getting at with ‘plank and splinters’ and whilst it’s true, there our also significant differences in terms of position (as well as scale). Not many of us can directly effect the lives of so many people or help in act new laws of the land. So I think Tony #14 hit the nail on the head with his comment. But that may be down to the general public not taking an active enough part in there MP selection.
PS: I buy of Amazon and type on ASBO from work with my employers blessing providing I have no work to do. I’m in a call centre. Pen’s are another matter however
There is no way these greedy people can be defended. These actions were not mistakes but a debilerate effort to defraud.
Anyone in business has to provide justifaction for expenses. I would like to see the justification on these expenses. It is about time politians started caring for the nation instead of using the people.
Euro MP expenses ‘can reach £1m’
i can’t help but think it could have been very different had the journos framed the story differently. responsibility for the mob mood in this country must also lie with them.
Didn’t everyone have a good time when it was Labour MP’s in the headlines. Didn’t they have to do a lovely climb down when the moat polish was discovered
Zacchaeus stopped and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, half of my possessions I now give to the poor, and if I have cheated anyone of anything, I am paying back four times as much!” Then Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this household.
Even the Tories can’t match that!!
MP’s call for a ban on huge irresistable TV’s
Just watched the speaker…. i dont think he will last the week.
Huge, irresistable TVs? That would be Divine, wouldn’t it?
Bad pun(s). Sorry (kind of). Too much Eurovision at the weekend…
Took my mind off MP-Watch though…
So we don’t blame the politicians, then they can stop blaming the Speaker of the House – is that how it works?
This is what you get with self regulation in banking, politics, anywhere really!
To Miriworm #5,5:
People aren’t nearly as desperate as they were in the 30′es when the Nazi regime (and Stalin) came to power. Yet.
They are in Hungary though, Information, one of the few independent and serious newspapers in Denmark, report that in Hungary there is a boom of popularity for a new party that smell a whole lot like Fascism. They even have black uniforms for their “security groups”.
To Jon #16
Our political classes have known about these abuses for years, which is why they wanted to keep their expenses out of the Freedom of Information Act.
I agree that we shouldn’t do anything too hastily, but how anyone can think that claiming mortgage interest for a mortgage that is already paid off isn’t wrong is beyond me.
I am also sadly aware that political extremists stand to gain from this situation, which is why, no matter how distasteful it is to me, I will be casting my vote in forthcoming elections. Not so much a votte for our current politicians as against extremism in all its forms.
i believe that there have been some serious things going on here. But i just wish this kind of pressure was put on ministers when child poverty was questioned, for example. Wouldn’t it be great if when a politician stood up and said that they were working on the system and they can only do so much if the entire country fronted by the media said “NO, this is not acceptable, you must act now” Then to see everyone being humble and come out saying “we’re sorry” we’ll fix this now” would be great. Perhaps i am over simplifying things but if mob rules then lets get the mob doing something positive.
your right tony re. the mortgage interest claim… it sounds like fraud to me. where there is suspected fraud it should be dealt with. i said that earlier in fact. i shall be exercising my vote with a similar heavy heart to your own and for similar reasons.
the press and certain parts of the populous seem very sanctimonious in all this.
Excessive expense claims are a sure sign that a person does not believe that he is supposed to be a servant.
I don’t expect MPs or anyone else to behave as servants, unless they claim to be one of Christ’s followers. Then I should expect it, much as they should expect it of me.
Is it a Freudian typo in the credits above the cartoon, or do you really have a friend called Tory?
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