In 2009, the story broke about MP`s and their ridiculous (criminal) claims for expenses. What also became clear was the unbelievable system allowing for claiming such monies. It was held up to much ridicule and a forensic examination at that time.
Further investigation of individuals and their spurious claims was halted in 2010, when over 10,000 documents and files were “mistakenly” shredded rendering any investigation impotent of evidence.
Fast forward to today and nothing has changed. In fact, it could be said that things have gotten very much worse. Parliament is to anyone`s naked eye a cesspit. MP`s have even recently broken unwritten rules about `vote pairing` for those who cannot make important votes. The trust such as it was between Whips and MP`s of differing parties seems to have dissipated completely.
John Bercow, the Speaker of the house, is under enormous pressure to stand down due to a report by Dame Laura Cox QC. This is a damming report; and make no mistake, in any other institution he would be gone. Whistleblowing is gathering a pace with complaints from ex staffers ranging from bullying to sexual assault against a plethora of MP`s and civil servants within the Westminster bubble.
In a surprising move though and at a critical time in the Brexit negotiations, Lady Nugee, aka Emily Thornbury, the shadow Labour Foreign Secretary and Dame Margaret Beckett, also Labour, believing that Bercow would be sympathetic to the Labour stance on negotiations called for him to stay in place. So much for women`s equality.
The monies involved in expense claims is staggering. In the financial year 2009-10 £98 million in expenses were claimed by MP`s. Yes you have read that correctly, £98 million. MP for Tottenham David Lammy (Labour) claimed the highest fees for expenses at £173,922. He still claims a similar amount year on year. Dan Jarvis the Barnsley MP claimed a mere £520 that year for travel and food costs, the disparity is not lost on this author.
46 MP`s (25 Tories, 14 Labour and 4 Liberal-Democrats) own homes within an hour of Parliament where they work. They choose though to live in hotels and claim for these hotel rooms whilst renting out those homes. Labour MP Chris Bryant claimed expenses of £35,350 in 2012/13 and 2013/14 to rent a London flat whilst already owning a penthouse in the capital.
The Brexit situation has clearly divided a nation. At this time you would look to these elected political representatives to steady the ship and no matter what your view on the subject, you would, as they had promised to, expect our chosen representatives to carry out the will of the people. Many though have become totally derelict in that duty. Erring on the side of “getting re-elected” they have chosen the alternative view, calling for a supposed “peoples vote” which is to all intents and purposes a re-run of the first referendum from 2016. This is doing great damage to and could completely render as defunct, democracy in this country.
I can in all common sense arrive at no other opinion other than Parliament and those elected to operate from within, is and are not fit for purpose. Changes need to be made and with a first past the post electoral system that is not going to come through the ballot box.
I can only therefore, foresee a return to the vestages of 1653 and the dissolution of Parliament by a Cromwellian figure if things do not improve. I leave you with this, Cromwell`s speech prior to that dissolution. The language is of the time but translate it yourselves in to the modern vernacular and you will see how I have arrived at my analogy.
It’s high time for me to put an end to your sitting in this place.
Ye are a factious crew, and enemies to all good government.which you have dishonored by your contempt of all virtue, and defiled by your practice of every vice.
Ye are a pack of mercenary wretches, and would like Esau sell your country for a mess of pottage, and like Judas betray your God for a few pieces of money.
Is there a single virtue now remaining amongst you? Is there one vice you do not possess?
Ye have no more religion than my horse. Gold is your God. Which of you have not bartered your conscience for bribes? Is there a man amongst you that has the least care for the good of the Commonwealth?
Ye sordid prostitutes have you not defiled this sacred place, and turned the Lord’s temple into a den of thieves, by your immoral principles and wicked practices?
Ye are grown intolerably odious to the whole nation. You were deputed here by the people to get grievances redressed, are yourselves become the greatest grievance.
Your country therefore calls upon me to cleanse this Augean stable, by putting a final period to your iniquitous proceedings in this House; and which by God’s help, and the strength he has given me, I am now come to do.
I command ye therefore, upon the peril of your lives, to depart immediately out of this place.
Go, get you out! Make haste! Ye venal slaves be gone! So! Take away that shining bauble there, and lock up the doors.
In the name of God, go!