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!”