Coffee House

The Tories have brought back the expenses scandal and buried their own good news

9 April 2014

2:33 PM

9 April 2014

2:33 PM

PMQs today was bad for David Cameron, but nowhere near as bad as it could have been. No permanent damage was done to him.

Ed Miliband did not, to my surprise, come with a set of reforms to the expenses regime that he wanted Cameron to agree to there and then. Instead, he chose to concentrate on what this said about Cameron’s judgment. ‘This is about him’, Miliband thundered. I was, though, surprised not to hear Miliband making more of his usual line that Cameron ‘stands up for the wrong people.’

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Cameron knew he was on a sticky wicket and many of his lines didn’t land well this week. But he got through the session and his insistence that this House of Commons is an honest one full of hardworking people will have won him some credit with MPs. Though, it is also a bit of hostage to fortune. One can imagine this being quoted back at him if there are any more scandals.

The cost to the Tories of the Maria Miller scandal is that the scab has been knocked off the expenses scandal and that the good economic news, including the IMF declaring that Britain will grow faster than any other G7 economy this year, has been obscured. The Tories cannot afford anymore self-inflicted wounds. ​

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Show comments
  • http://www.CaerphillyPreserves.co.uk/ No Good Boyo

    If Cameron wants the public top have faith in the political elite, give us power of recall. Not thanks to a parliamentary committee, because we’ve seen precisely what happens when MP’s are given responsibility to sit judgment upon their own. But recall by public petition.

    And allow us to choose our representatives through open primaries. Give us the power to hire and fire out representatives. Then we will have confidence in them. As long as you tell us, “Here’s your representative — like him or get stuffed,” there’s no way you’ll restore faith in the political system.

    Cameron clearly imagined that s couple of tweaks would do the job, and then everybody would get back to normal, and politicians

  • DrCoxon

    ‘…and his insistence that this House of Commons is an honest one full of hardworking people will have won him some credit with MPs. ‘

    Wait for the voters.

  • Lady Magdalene

    Cameron has done the personal damage to himself over the past week ….. defending a Minister who was milking the Public Purse for all she could.
    He’s become a serious embarrassment as PM and is systematically destroying the Conservative Party.

  • HookesLaw

    The wounds were not ‘self inflicted’ they were quite deliberately inflicted by the likes of you, Mr Forsyth.

  • SilentHunter

    I think the greater question now is . . . “What were the motives of the Standards Committee in reducing Maria Millers “fine” to a paltry amount”

    What this episode clearly shows, is that the only thing the MP’s have learned from the Expenses Scandal, is how to hide it more successfully, by getting your pals to judge your behaviour . . . based upon their own behaviour.

    They say a fish rots from the head down . . . I think we can safely say that the stench of corruption emanating from the House of Commons, is readily apparent to the populace; and no amount of “Political Fabreeze” is going to cover it up.

  • SilentHunter

    “…his insistence that this House of Commons is an honest one full of hardworking people . . .” . . . is laughably inaccurate and will be seen as such by the overwhelming majority of the electorate who will punish the Tories in their marginals, come the General Election.

  • dado_trunking

    This is it, again, isn’t it?
    The delinquent resigns, keeps the cash, capital gains on taxpayer funded lodgings remain unaddressed. In the meantime we talk about the irrelevance of recall (in true ‘but AV is PR!’ fashion) and an up and coming EU election debacle.

  • Smithersjones2013

    But he got through the session and his insistence that this House of
    Commons is an honest one full of hardworking people will have won him
    some credit with MPs

    Honest?!!!! This from a Prime Minister who took numerous attempts to admit he’d ridden a horse owned by Rebekah Wade……

    They might not be criminals but this Parliament like many before it has little or no attachment to the truth and on expenses it now has IPSA to do its dirty work (like handing over 11k pay rises) for it.

    There is nothing ‘honest’ about Westminster and much of the ‘work’ of Westminster is in areas it has no business involving itself whilst it leaves foreign interests to address issues it should be working on so working hard or not is an irrelevance.

  • Frank

    Come on, do you seriously believe the IMF that Britain is going to grow faster than any other G7 country? If that turns out to be true, then we are all in a terminal death slide.
    As for our official opposition, Miliband’s behaviour says that the shadow cabinet are scared of any improved investigation into historic expenses claims!
    As for Dave, the House is full of honest MPs?? What about Maria Miller?

    • Mynydd

      With respect to, historic expenses claims. I think if there were problems in this area for Labour, the conservative party chairman Mr Green, would have reported them to the investigation authorities, long before now.

      • Frank

        Does dog bite dog?

      • Tony_E

        I think that very unlikely. The government of the day doesn’t need another expenses scandal, even if it is predominantly Labour based.

        Cameron needs people to engage with policy, because this government is actually producing better economic results than the last. He needs the focus to be on the economy and the inability of the opposition to create anything like a cohesive industrial and economic policy which will satisfy both their core support and the business community.

  • Kitty MLB

    Judgement- Milipede- Judgement. Ed Balls as shadow chancellor is
    like Herod being in charge of Childcare.
    That type of judgement can do true damage to the economy and shows the measure
    of the man. And obviously Miliband and others wish to go on this one
    issue instead of any positive news.
    For Miliband its hoping always for the worse- as he thinks it will be good for Labour,
    and the press.. well wildebeest’s getting red meat around their ever decreasing waterhole.

    • Mynydd

      Mr Miliband is leader of the opposition with the duty to hold the government to account. Today, at PMQ he just did that by, holding the Prime Minister Mr Cameron to account for his judgement over the Mrs Miller scandal. It’s hardly Mr Miliband’s fault that Mr Cameron didn’t have an adequate answer, when he had a week to make one up.

      • Wessex Man

        I think this is the very first time that I have ever agreed with anything you’ve said, now all I need is for Hooky to call me mate!

        • Kitty MLB

          I agree matey, my gorgeous turtle dove & chum- is that Hooky
          I did type it in a deep voice like Hooky’s- he will turn up at some point. And I hope you will not get into any bad habits
          agreeing with Lefties !!!

        • HookesLaw

          Hello mate – your judgement is even more off than I imagined. Cameron acted properly, Miller had been found not guilty and was indeed guilty only of making a mistake. I doubt that any PM has sacked a minister on similar grounds.
          The howling baying mob of the press who only have their own interest in being above independent regulation are the ones you should be afraid of.

          • Lady Magdalene

            45,000 “mistakes” Hookey.

      • 2trueblue

        Pity his government did not clean it up when his party was in power. Liebore ran the most corrupt parliament in living memory. Liebore may yet regret any crowing about this matter, there are a lot of rocks that may get turned over in the near future.

  • Hello

    It’s really touching to see such unity among the press. I think I’ve just shed a tear.

    • In2minds

      Well yes, as it’s also their jobs on the line!

  • Barakzai

    ‘ . . . this House of Commons is an honest one full of hardworking people . . . ‘

    Such as the whiter-than-white individual MPs who make up the Standards Committee?

    • telemachus

      Ed Miliband is squeaky clean on expenses

      • Tony_E

        But not necessarily on capital gains and inheritance, certainly he cannot ever call for inheritance taxes to be raised with a straight face.

        A rich man through no effort of his own, it is easy for him to claim little.

        • telemachus

          You people have it all wrong
          The difference between a socialist and a conservative is that the latter wants to keep it all to us and ours while a socialist believes in a fair sharing of the cake
          *
          However socialists are not stupid
          *
          Like everyone else they play by the rules of the time

          • Wessex Man

            I look forward to Tony Benn’s Will being published.

            • Kitty MLB

              Did telemachus say fair sharing with the cake. dear chap.
              Clearly he has been eating another one of those cakes
              containing a ‘ magic ingredient’ from the mad hatters tea
              party again.

              • telemachus

                Yes Kitty
                Particularly the cake of opportunity

                • Colonel Mustard

                  Cake and eat it more like.

                • Kitty MLB

                  You may find that particular cake has become somewhat
                  stale & crusty and unappetizing to the electorate.

              • DavEd CamerBand

                Eating someone else’s cake, not one he put HIS blood sweat and tears into.

                • telemachus

                  Again no
                  The cake of our blood sweat and tears

                • DavEd CamerBand

                  You never helped me bake my cake, you won’t be getting a slither.

            • telemachus

              ‘Will And Testament’

              *

              Tony Benn (87), the longest serving Labour MP in history, is also, arguably, the most popular UK politician of all time. Across the globe and in particular over the last five years his brand of socialism has struck a cord with people of all ages and social backgrounds. For the first time ever through intimate, quasi confessional interviews and his personal, photographic and film archive ‘Will And Testament’ reveals a very human face behind the political mask. In this feature length film, Tony Benn also criss-crosses the UK bearing witness to major social and political upheavals and events. He hopes ‘Will And Testament’ will prove to be the defining documentary of the most globally and politically aware generation in a lifetime. This documentary is an exclusive and deeply personal look at the life of a national treasure, a frank, candid and sometimes painful exploration of the great themes of life that have affected him and affect us all, love, loss, hopes, dreams, fears and death. …

              • Colonel Mustard

                Googled from:-

                http://www.mkgallery.org/events/2013_08_23/tony_benn_will_and_testament/

                Benn said of Harold Wilson: “In the end, the tragedy of Harold Wilson was that you couldn’t believe a word he said.” The feeling appears to have been mutual, with Wilson saying Benn “immatures with age”.

                Benn said “Labour has never been a socialist party, but it’s always had socialists in it, just as there are some Christians in the church, it’s an exact parallel.” It has always had communists in it too, as you remind us every day.

                • glurk

                  Wilson may as well have been talking about the Labour party

                  which seem to me to make it up as they go along, very much like adolescents.

                • telemachus

                  Poor Wilson
                  He was a bit like Blair
                  Glib and good to achieve power
                  Men like Benn, Foot and Brown are men we can respect in that they care
                  And in the case of Brown care and deliver

                • Colonel Mustard

                  You mean all the communists pretending to be socialists.

                  Embrace honesty tel, join the communist party.

              • Tony_E

                I’ll give Tony Benn one thing, he did believe in democracy and stood up for it and against supranational instutionalism in the EU. He clearly understood the implications of membership and called it right.

            • http://www.CaerphillyPreserves.co.uk/ No Good Boyo

              Come the revolution, comrade, we’ll all be as rich as Anthony Wedgwood Benn And yes, you are justified in making a connection with a certain manufacturer of fine porcelain

          • flaxdoctor

            Some might say the socialist keeps his/her own whilst helping themselves to the fruits of other peoples’ labours. Not stupid at all…

            • telemachus

              A human being who believes that the most harmonious state of affairs would be for all to get a fair shot at financial sucess. This belief is not motivated by his own selfishness as a capitalist would have you think, but is in actuality an honorable difference of opinion. In the 1930’s farmers in the mid west were plowing their corn under because it was unprofitable, and at the same time millions across America were starving. Capitalists see this as logical, while socialists find it abhorrent. In short, socialism is about production for use, not profit.

              • Colonel Mustard

                You do talk a lot of bollocks. Read up on this 三年大饑荒 which was caused by precisely the sort of bollocks you apparently believe in.

                • telemachus

                  This is more relevant to your creed

                  *

                  The famine in Spain during the Second World War and food shortages which
                  lasted into the 1950s have been well documented in historical studies by Preston
                  and Leitz as well as in scientific examinations by González Zapata, et al.
                  Resulting in between 25,000 to 200,000 deaths, the famine also left a generation
                  malnourished in infancy, resulting in thousands of premature deaths. This paper
                  asserts that by continuing to export food exports during this period, Spanish
                  dictator Francisco Franco was starving his own people in nominal Peseta trade
                  terms. It examines the following two questions: first, why and with whom did
                  Franco maintain food exports during the Spanish famine of 1939 to 1959? Second,
                  to what extent was the accumulation of Spanish national wealth during the 1940s
                  and 1950s a result of food and/or other exports?

                • Colonel Mustard

                  I don’t have a creed and if I did it certainly wouldn’t be Franco’s.

                  On the other hand Mao, who was a communist zealot like you, killed millions with his collective and re-distributive agricultural policies. Not thousands but millions.

                  MILLIONS.

                • telemachus

                  No creed
                  No point of view
                  Just attack and destroy
                  We must all nail our colours to the mast

                • Colonel Mustard

                  No creed.
                  Plenty of points of view well attested.
                  Attack socialism and destroy it (I wish)
                  The colours of individual liberty and freedom from Big Government

                • DavEd CamerBand

                  Socialism has ALWAYS lead to the absolute opposite of what its proponents claim they wish to achieve, far from ending poverty socialism CREATES poverty. Instead of upholding freedom socialism destroys the very liberty that our forebears fought and died to defend.
                  Socialists ALWAYS hand power from the people to the state they spend money they dont have, create a culture of dependancy rather than self-reliance, undermine traditions, conventions and intstitutions that have stood the test of time, and when things go wrong, as they inevitably do under socialism, socialists resort to the power and might of the state against the people themselves.

                  Socialism bought our great nation to its knees by the 70s. Look at Jamaca (previously the most prosperous Caribbean nation) where socialism promised so much but delivered total economic collapse, and made those whom it pledged to make richer much, much poorer.

                  You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.

                  You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.

                  You cannot help little men by tearing down big men.

                  You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage

                  payer.

                  You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.

                  You cannot establish sound security on borrowed money.

                  You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.

                  You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than you earn.

                  You cannot build character and courage by destroying men’s initiative and independence.

                  And you cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they can and should do for themselves.

          • Frank

            Do you seriously think these people are socialists, or conservatives? They are professional politicians who are on different teams, but otherwise usually get on fine together, particularly when it comes to maxing their expense claims, and or white washing each other’s expense claims.

            • telemachus

              I do not subscribe to the cynical anarchist philosophy that seems to be gaining traction hereabouts
              Miliband is the nearest politivian to the socialist ideal since Michael Foot

              • Colonel Mustard

                “Miliband is the nearest politivian to the socialist ideal since Michael Foot”

                Hmm.

          • Colonel Mustard

            “However socialists are not stupid”

            Hmm.

          • Ron Todd

            They just don’t realise that somebody has to make to cake before it can be divided.

            In general the Tories take less of what is mine than the socialists do.

          • HookesLaw

            Infantile rubbish.

          • http://www.CaerphillyPreserves.co.uk/ No Good Boyo

            Wasn’t Stalin a socialist? And Mao? And Pol Pot.

            No ideology in the history off the earth, the Nazis’ final solution included, has slaughtered as many people as socialism.

            There’s a simple explanation: for all that socialism pretends to be on the side of the common man, it’s really all about the big picture. Who cares about the sufferings of the individual, when the triumph of the entire community it’s at stake? So if 20 million Russians die, what does this matter ifa nation of millions achieves true socialism?

            Except they didn’t realise true socialism — nobody had ever realised true socialism– but Russian (Chinese, Cambodian) mothers were forced to grieve anyway for the experiment.

            The big difference between socialism and capitalism is that we respect the individual. In capitalism, the individual is permitted to make something of himself. In socialism, the individual is at best a tool

      • DavEd CamerBand

        Mr Miliband used his office expenses to pay a consultant £3,525 during the 2005-06 financial year for help with “speeches, communications and writing,” despite having a taxpayer-funded special adviser to do that.

      • Colonel Mustard

        Shouldn’t that be thqueaky clean?

      • McClane

        telemachus piggybacks again

  • Des Demona

    I assume from the photograph that they go to the same tailor?

    • Bluesman_1

      It’s the mould. They all come out like that.

    • In2minds

      Both dummies then?

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