Prince Philip on MPs 20

From The Catholic Orangemen of Togo, p. 132, on the Duke of Edinburgh’s visit to the Ghanaian parliament:

“The Prince laughed heartily, and we arrived at the Parliament building in high good spirits.

There he was first shown to a committee room where he was introduced to senior MPs of all parties.

“How many Members of Parliament do you have?” he asked.

“Two hundred,” came the answer.

“That’s about the right number,” opined the Prince, “We have six hundred and fifty MPs, and most of them are a complete bloody waste of time.”

Perhaps Prince Philip had a point.

The striking MP troughing story today is about MP Ben Chapman, who was allowed to continue claiming his mortgage payments despite having paid off his £279,000 mortgage. This still shocks despite eleven solid days of this.

One fascinating thing is just how many MPs appear to have been able to pay off their large mortgages, despite only having a salary of £68,000 per year. That speaks volumes.

Let us pause to remember the biggest criminal in the House of Commons, Tessa Jowell, who not only paid off her mortgage, but did so three times, using Mafia money.

Hopefully we will see what Jpwell’s expenses claims looked like during this fascinating period.

Most of you appear to read this blog at work, as readership drops at the weekend. So please do look at this piece I did on the really appalling hypocrisy of Tory blogger Iain Dale.

Iain has the number 1 blog on the Wikio rankings. If people want to read blogs that are simply a vehicle for party propaganda, that of course is their right. But I would hate people to be under the illusion they were getting anything more thoughtful or independent just because it is a new media fomat.

Nadine Dorries’ admission that she deliberately concealed from her constituents that she lives neither in London nor in her constituency, is appalling. Dale and Dorries are close – he was recently her escort and guest to the Classical Brit awards at the Royal Albert Hall (another freebie for the tireless trougher Dorries?). But his defence of Dorries, when he viciously attacks non-Tory MPs for the same kind of offence, shows Dale up for what he is.

Dale is in fact a double hypocrite. Having defended Dorries for claiming £22,000 a year for a constituency home when her main home is in the Cotswolds, but attacked Labour’s Margaret Moran for a similar offence, he then lays in to the Telegraph editor for defending his own friends:

The allegation is that the Telegraph went soft on Ed Balls and Yvette Cooper because Telegraph editor Will Lewis is a drinking and Karaoke buddy of Mr Balls.

When Dale himself had done precisely that for his friend Dorries! The truth is that both Lewis and Dale are both part of an intricately connected metropolitan clique who lord it over the rest of us.

And Dale then goes on to produce a self-righteous ten point candidates’ pledge of his own, which includes:

I will continue to live in the constituency, among the community I serve

Looks like your pledge would exclude Dorries then Iain, doesn’t it?

Another one of Dale’s ten personal pledges reveals the weasel nature of his words.

I will be a full time MP with no jobs outside politics

Note the “No jobs outside politics”. Dale has managed to make a good living from hoovering up various streams of Tory gravy for years. Plainly he intends to maintain these income streams inside politics if elected.

Or he would pledge:

“I will be a full time MP with no other job”, full stop.

The real problem is, that the astounding hypocrisy of Dale’s defence of Dorries while hammering Margaret Moran for essentially the same offence, shows he is completely biased towards a Tory, to the exclusion of thoughts of natural justice. And that must cast into severe doubt another one of his candidates’ pledges:

I will serve all my constituents, regardless of their politics

Only serve the Tories rather better than others, one might suspect from the Dorries case.

For a party hack, Dale is remarkably thin-skinned. He commented on my post:

And all because I linked to a post by Charles Crawford which you didn’t like.

I thought you were bigger than this. But clearly not.

Why do you always have to be so personal. “Stinking hypocrite”. No reasoning. Just insults.

I used to really think you were a person worth reading and engaging with. I no longer do.

How very sad you have reduced your blog to this level.

Actually, this has nothing at all to do with Iain linking to Charles Crawford. I was not in the least upset by that. In fact, I was so not upset by it, I’ll do it myself. Here is Charles’ criticism of me:

Charles has a different political view to mine. We argue fiercely. But he is logical and consistent, and I rather like him.

I am very straightforward, Iain. When I say that you are acting hypocritically, it is because I believe you are acting hypocritically, not because you linked to Charles Crawford.

I have contempt for your view that it is wrong for political opponents to do something, but OK for your friend Nadine Dorries to do the same thing. I have invited you to expound on your defence of Dorries and explain why what Dorries did was morally better than what you (rightly) condemned Margaret Moran for.

Oh, and of course I don’t mean that you smell by calling you a stinking hypocrite. The use of metaphors from smell to describe particularly evident bad behaviour is ancient. As in Shakespeare’s Claudius:

“Oh, my offence is rank. It smells to Heaven!”


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20 thoughts on “Prince Philip on MPs

  • Anonymous

    plus 40k for your partner pretending to work for you.

    plus ridiculously high, virtually impossible to achieve in the private sector, pension contributions.

    plus legitimate (we wish) expensives.

    plus loads more salary if you have any sort of other government/parliamentary duties.

    No wonder they’re completely out of touch with reality.

  • Craig

    Good point – sorry, I meant it’s not much to be paying off a £290,000 mortgage with!

  • Richard

    Craig – if you’re just trying to do a Dolly and throw grenades at Dale then fine. However, if you’ve got a point to make – it’d be nice if you could make it. He’s a blogger – he doesn’t have to comment on everything – his opinions are his own as a private citizen and should he wish to stand by his chums – good on him.

    PS – Jowell the biggest criminal? Yeah, err Hoon & Blair but if it’s all about cash with you guys then fine.

    Grow up man.

  • Craig

    Yes, that’s my point – it is all the non-salary troughing opportunities that enable them to pay off these mortgages

  • Craig


    This is interesting. I presume you are a Tory – forgive me if I’m wrong. I think we genuinely have a difference in morality here that may help define waht is a Tory. To me, and many others, it is axiomatic that you should judge everyone by the same standards. Tories, judging by many comments I have received, seem to take it as axiomatic that you have one set of standards fro your friends, and a different set for others.

    If Dale had simply been silent on Dorries, fair enough. Did you read my first posting on this? But he went out of his way to defend her, while attacking others for doing the very same thing. He can thus legitimately be criticised.

  • Beau Nash

    How about investigating corruption in the Civil Service, both national and local government.

    I would like to be kept in touch with your revelations.

  • Craig

    Beau Nash,

    Yes – both would be worth doing. Local government corruption, especially in New Labour rotten boroughs, is the greatest unreported scandal in this country.

  • fatsnacker

    so these family members working for them….

    No im not against it per say….you create timesheets and pay them the going rate for an admin person, and I’m behind wouldnt want you to break the WTD, so make sure those timesheets are accurate.

    NOw in line with effeciency saving, lets have the details of all renumeration packages for the past 4-8yrs for senior civil servants….bet we can shave off a few quid from the Quango payment run….

  • Richard


    Ofcourse he can be criticized but I don’t understand why you’re doing it on your blog and not his. I dunno – it really is up to you but I’ve seen this go Pete Tong before. Bloggers don’t have offices, aren’t paid (at all) usually and whilst the lad is probably one of the main politically affiliated blogs about – he has no bones about people proper tearing him a new one (if swearing is absent).

    I just think you’re picking the wrong fight, in the wrong way, at the wrong time.

    I dunno – I like the both of you and I just don’t know what you’d regard as a win. Does popularity give rise to criticism or should we treat it like having a chat with a chum down the boozer.

    It just seems a little beneath you man, frankly. Dale’s never claimed to be anything other than he is. I don’t know why right wing blogs are more popular, why his in particular – but that’s how it is.

    If you want analysis then Burning our Money, if you want politics – then PB or Politics home, if you want to let rip the Guido or Old Holborn – if you want a cup of tea & a scone – Iain’s gaff. He ain’t Tory Home – he doesn’t have a party line. I just think what you may interpret as hypocrisy – a lot of people think – yeah buddy, she’s screwed and fair play to leave it alone – she’s his bud.

    I dunno man – it’s just that these things never work out well and, well, there you have it. Yeah, I am a Tory but I’m quite happy watching the charlatans destroy themselves.


  • Craig


    Thanks, I realise your advice is given in good faith.

    I think the public mood – that it is the political class, not one particular party – is right. I also think that the kind of greedy individuals we have as MPs is part of the cause of the larger crimes.

    So, having lain into New Labour jollily for five years, it is important to point out the Tories are also tainted.

    Also, I really believe in new media and blogging. The Tories have cornered much of the market because they can attack an unpopular governemt (and I don’t buy the Guido isn’t a Tory line). I think that Tory bloggers do need to be exposed.

    And I’m having fun too.

  • Sean Connery

    “If you’re afraid of getting a rotten apple, don’t go to the barrel. Get it off the tree. ”

    Transfer powers of parliament to the National Youth Parliament.

  • Richard


    Cool. It really is a fantastic bit of telly and I want a whole season of Portillo moments – not just an event sometime in May next year when i’ll have probably drank far too much and miss it all.

    I like this bit ‘I also think that the kind of greedy individuals we have as MPs is part of the cause of the larger crimes.’ – absolutely spot on. It amy even be that poor ickle Anthony Lyton didn’t like all the big boys shouting at him and being meanies so completely abandoned Parliamentary sovereignty with that disgracefully efficient (you’re right – I am at work!!!) chap Alaistair Campbell.

    Oh no – Ali wally shouted at me – boo hoo. Tories are ofcourse just as bad.

    This bloggy thing is brilliant – all anyone has to do is wander down to their local Assoc with a copy of their mendacity and it’s game over. Fraud trials, plod investigations etc – bring ’em on – but I’m quite happy watching them do a Shoesmith and go down in inglorious shame.

    But I guess we’d all agree – this is just cash – the real criminals are Blair, Hoon, Brown, Reid, Straw, Clarke, Blunkett, Dearlove, O’Donnell – err… well all of them frankly except the ones who opposed illegal invasion and stood up for civil liberties. Tiny number – few lib dems and a smattering of decent MPs – the rest – cheerio, do be a stranger, oh – and err.. about this bill?


  • David W


    Any further thoughts on your participation in a discussion with Charles Crawford? I’d be interested to hear from you regarding the terms on which you might be willing to participate.

  • dreoilin

    “I also think that the kind of greedy individuals we have as MPs is part of the cause of the larger crimes.”

    Absolutely. A person is innately honest or they’re not. Anyone involved in dishonesty at this level to feather their own nests, can’t possibly be trusted to tell the truth on bigger issues.

  • Iain Dale

    You really are a complete twat. I explained why Dorries’s case cannot be compared to Moran’s on the other thread but you conveniently ignore that.

    You say I am a propagandist, yet you ignore the fact that last week I called for a Tory MP to have the whip withdrawn.

    I don’t know why you are trying to pick a fight with me when all I have ever done is be supportive when you have asked me to be.

    I won’t make that mistake again.

    I never thought I would have sympathy with the FCO. I now see what they had to put up with.

  • Richard

    Hee hee hee – ah, you’ve gone and pissed off Dale for reasons known only to yourself. Gad zooks – way to go and all that. If this is what you classify as left wing commentary then I guess there’s quite some room for improvement. Hey nonny no – as mentioned, none of my business really – toodle pip etc.

  • Jon

    @Iain Dale: Craig may be somewhat overzealous in his approach, but you do rather look like you are on the wrong side of public opinion here. We are seeing substantial corruption on all sides of the house and yet it feels like you want to be on the side of the elite class. If an elected representative has been found claiming for something other than reasonable lodgings near Westminster, so that they might have a place to stay whilst carrying out their duties in London, then they need to consider their position. This ought to be the case regardless of whether other items were regularly given the nod – that is just complicity with corruption, not an excuse for it. Following Martin’s departure I hope to see others go too, with the Queen having a word in Brown’s ear.

    Legitimate questions are raised here:

    Anyway regardless of your dispute with Craig, it is quite silly for you to suggest you “have sympathy for the FCO”, as if they were right all along. If you are aware of Craig’s story you will know he was incredibly mistreated, to the point of depression and the contemplation of suicide, and no apology has ever come forth despite substantial provable wrongdoing. Some union officials claimed it was the worst case of harassment they’d ever seen in the foreign office.

    Some while ago you suggested that Craig was particularly critical of you because of your post on another debate (re Charles Crawford) and that Craig was allegedly unable to separate the discussion at hand from personal animosity. And yet in your comments regarding the FCO, you seem to be doing precisely the same thing.

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