Friday, 8 May 2009

The Westminster Gravy Train

Few of us can by now, be unaware of the Westminster 'gravy train', also known as Parliamentary expenses. It is one of the 'perks' that goes with the job of being a Member of Parliament, elected to represent a constituency in the UK.

The Daily Telegraph reports extensively and in considerable detail, on how politicians of all parties "exploit the system of parliamentary allowances to subsidise their lifestyles and multiple homes", from information it has received under the Freedom of Information Act.

With one MP claiming for three different properties in one year, another making a £3000 claim days after he had stood down as an MP, a further MP who is reputedly a millionaire, claiming£100,000 to help pay the mortgage interest on one of the seven properties that he owns, it seems that the checks and balances (if they indeed exist) fall somewhere short of public expectation in this area.

It seems to me that the system for claiming Parliamentary expenses is open to abuse; that is to say, human weakness will lead some (in this case quite a few) to make claims which though apparently allowable within a loosely defined system, seem morally indefensible.

Some will say that whatever expenses system is in place, there will always be those who will exploit it to the full.
Quite. Exploitation is a product of the human weakness, or temptation, to do that which is morally wrong. We are all subject to human weakness and temptation which if unchecked, could lead us into all kinds of actions which are morally wrong.

That is why, for instance, a system for providing under-age boys and girls with access to contraception/abortion is such folly.
The FPA, Brooks and other contraception/abortion providers would no doubt claim that they only provide information, so that young people can make informed choices, about what's available to them.

Isn't that what our expenses-loving MP's have done?

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