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From The Socialist newspaper, 12 May 2009

MPs live it up at our expense !

Derail their gravy train

"WE HANG the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office" - Aesop.

Despite the protestations of MPs caught with their hands in the till that it's the 'system' to blame, "thieves" will be the judgement of most people on MPs who fiddle their expenses.

Ken Douglas
Young people show their anger at the system, photo Paul Mattsson

Young people show their anger at the system, photo Paul Mattsson

These politicians make you sick. They publicly attack people claiming unemployment and disability benefits - the poorest in society, while enriching themselves at our expense. And when they're caught red-handed they squeal that it is the 'system' that's to blame.

Immigration minister Phil Woolas called the media allegations 'disgusting' but what is really disgusting is that these revelations are emerging at the same time as the Department for Work and Pensions reported that deprivation and inequality has risen for a third successive year. Income inequality is now higher than at any time during the Thatcher years of the 1980s and since records began in the 1960s.

So it's official - when Tony Blair talked about making Britain a fairer place, what he actually meant was, for the richest 10%. Obviously Labour MPs have had to work particularly hard on their expenses claims to make sure that they boosted this 10%!

Apparently the favoured method is by 'flipping' - changing the designation of their second home in order to claim for expensive repairs, redecoration and mortgage interest payments.

Step forward any number of MPs, including Jacqui Smith, Hazel Blears (who would then flip back in order to avoid paying tax when she sold the property) and multi-millionaire Tory grandee, Francis Maude.

MPs can use this method to claim up to 24,000 a year while avoiding paying tax on any profits from sales of these houses.

Another method is by submitting claims for less than 250 - receipts don't have to be provided for these so MPs put in multiple claims for 249. Even where receipts have to be provided there seems to be no claim too preposterous that someone hasn't had the brass neck to make it - millionaire Tory shadow cabinet member David Willetts claimed 115 for the replacement of 25 light bulbs in his second home! How many rich Tory MPs does it take exactly to screw in a light bulb? None, just claim it on expenses!

Contrast these greedy MPs with Dave Nellist (now a Socialist Party councillor) who, as a socialist MP from 1983 to 1992, took only the average wage of a skilled worker and the rest of his salary was donated back to the labour movement.

Dave was expelled from the Labour Party by the likes of fat cat Tony Blair (who claimed remortgage payments on his home shortly before buying a 3.65 million house), Peter Mandelson (3,000 for decorating and gardening) and John Prescott (two toilet seats in two years). Dave's crime? Being a socialist and daring to fight for the working class.

It's time to kick all these criminals out - we need a workers' party in government with accountable representatives who will fight for our interests as hard as these corrupt politicians fight for the rich.

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In The Socialist 12 May 2009:

Fight all job cuts


Thieving MPs

MPs live it up at our expense !


Socialist Party editorial

Sweep away the thieves and their system


Socialist Party news and analysis

Renationalise the railways

Sri Lanka's killing zone

Corus jobs slaughter - fight the closure

News in brief


Linamar and Visteon

Linamar sack Swansea trade union leader

A victory at Linamar would be a victory for all workers

Visteon workers discuss socialism


Socialist Party election campaign

No2EU - Yes to Democracy campaign news

No to the EU gravy train


Youth fight for jobs

Youth Fight for Jobs Launch conference


International socialist news and analysis

Gaza: the nightmare continues

Imperialism sucked deeper into Afghan quagmire


Socialist Party workplace news

Defending jobs and conditions at the Olympics site

Defending jobs and conditions at Fiddlers Ferry

Wales TUC: For trade union democracy and for trade union rights!

Socialist methods tested

Workplace news in brief

PCS conference: A fighting union that defends its members

NSSN - fight the bosses' offensive

NSSN Conference: Saturday 27 June


Marxist analysis: history

Defeating the poll tax


Education

Save our schools Weston Favell, Northampton

Lewisham Bridge primary school

Threat of academies


 

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