Friday, March 19, 2010

An Apology From LibDem Voice


Following the news that four LibDem MPs (Sandra Gidley, Paul Holmes, Richard Younger-Ross and John Barrett) have been found guilty of seriously abusing the second home allowance, and will have to apologise to the House of Commons, here's the apology you won't be reading on LibDem Voice...

In common with other commentators, we may in the past have given readers the impression that Liberal Democrat MPs were, in the area of second home allowances, paragons of virtue. We may have written sentences like "The LibDems have escaped censure," and "The Liberal Democrats have emerged from the scandal smelling like a baby's powdered arse, or "The Tories and Labour gaze at the LibDem benches in bewilderment at the smell of Mr Sheen, who, like LibDem MPs, shines everything clean." Headlines such as "LibDems get clean bill of health" and "LibDems escape sleaze censure" may have reinforced the view that Nick Clegg and his band of merry men truly are the unsullied virgins of modern day politics.

We now realise there was not a jot or scintilla of truth in the above. We are happy to put on record that the Liberal Democrats are now exposed as serial expense offenders and can be classed alongside all the other politicians who have transgressed House of Commons rules.

We would therefore like to take this opportunity to apologise unreservedly to our readers for dveiating from our normal critical analysis of what goes on in our party and for believing that LibDem MPs are in any way different to those of other parties. In future we will avoid phrases such as "cleaner than clean" and "whiter than white" when writing about the expenses of LibDem MPs. We thank you.

Sorry. Couldn't resist. Think of all those times you have heard Chris Huhne and Nick Clegg on TV claim that the LibDems were more or less unaffected by the expenses scandal. It's not something they will be able to repeat.

29 comments:

Squiffy said...

Unfortunately, although the expenses affair rumbles on in the constituencies it has left the front pages.

I suspect that the LibDems will escape much of the bad publicity and continue to pour scorn on Labour and the Tories whilst they are found fiddling their expenses and taking money off convicted crooks.

Old Holborn said...

the message should be

Tories: Thieves
Labour: Thieves
LibDems: Thieves
BNP: Thieves
SNP: Thieves

Vote for an independent. All the rest just steal your money

Paul Halsall said...

When will Cameron apologise? Even though he claimed as much as anyone, he seems to think he got away scot-free.

It's easy for the rich boys to put it all the expenses on the mortgage.

MekQuarrie said...

Excellent. Well put.

Duncan Stott said...

The question is:

When will the Labour and Tory MPs who did exactly the same own up? The Lib Dem MPs have have at least been honest about their stupidity... will the others come clean?

Once again the Lib Dems come off looking better than the other two parties, albeit far from angels ourselves.

Simon Harley said...

Independents: Non-affiliated Thieves.

jolo said...

Gordon Brown claims second home allowance..Could someone tell me where his first home is? He lives in grace and favour accommodation in Downing Street,he has use of the grace and favour Chequer’s mansion. He pays nothing in rent or mortgage for those properties. When he married he gave to Sarah the flat he bought from Robert Maxwell’s estate. That leaves only his old Fife home. it is the only one he owns. Yet he designates it as his “second home” for expenses purposes.....

Twig said...

Excuse my language but, what a bunch of Huhnes!

Tom King said...

No comment on the Labour and Tory MPs who didn't refer themselves to the authorities, as these MPs did, then?

Mark Senior said...

At least the LibDem MP's reported themsekves to the Standards Board . There are quite a few Labour and Conservative MP's in the same block of flats . I expect they will have to be dragged screaming before they repay any money .

Will 883 said...

"The Standards and Privileges Committee said it was aware other MPs had received "cash windfalls" but said it had no information about these cases as they had not been referred or the subject of complaints."

So who is going to refer the other MPs to the Committee?

This is clearly more widespread than Lib Dems, despite Iain's rather partisan and hopeful suggestion otherwise.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/8576304.stm

Mark Valladares said...

Iain,

You're calling upon any Conservatives who likewise took the money to turn themselves in then...

Hypocrisy clock counting down...

Edward Gaffney said...

Wow, you had the exact same line of thought as Paul Staines's blog about a story that attacks enemies of the Tories. Who'd have though it?

Twig said...

@Edward Gaffney
But the thing is Ed, the Lib Dems were pretending that they hadn't been fiddling their expenses like the other parties but it now turns out that they had their fair share of fiddlers too.

In the same way they cast aspersions about non-doms while themselves accepting millions of pounds worth of stolen money from a convicted con artist who is non resident but who laundered the cash through a non-trading company registered in the UK.

Also they all kept silent as the Electoral Commission confiscated £360k from UKIP due to a minor technical breach of the rules.
Very unattractive.

Martin said...

This is the BBC speaking. If it's not Lord Ashcroft we're not interested.

Mark Senior said...

The Iain Dale hypocrisy clock still counting . Is he checking with his Conservative MP pals who also live in Dolphin House whether they have done the same so that he can report them to the Standards Board .

Steve C said...

All parties have their rotten apples but I agree that the LibDems have been trying to paint themselves as whiter than white. I would prefer ALL MPs to refer themselves, let's have it all in the open before the GE and then voters can decide.

Adolf Brown said...

Nick Clegg is a pious fool, he and his party are even worse than Labour in the way they seem to think the public do not notice Lib Dem double standards on MP and Peer expenses, the £2.4 Million dodgy donation and the way Lib Dems say one thing to one person and then something completly different to the next door neighbours.

Nick Clegg has turned a blind eye to Lord Rennard, the Lib Dem chief executive who got seriously caught out in the expense scandal. Then their is the Liberal Democrats failure to repay the £2.4 Million donation from Michael Brown, someone who did not pay UK taxes and was not even registered to vote in the UK. The victims of the Michael Brown fraud have requested their money back but the Lib Dems say the money was taken in good faith so they dont need to return it. This is pathetic and they should pay it back, the Lib Dems have recieved the proceeds of crime - they should repay it or shut up shop. They say at least they grassed themselves up on the MPs expenses - I say not good enough: Pay back all the Dodgy Lib Dem expense claims, pay back the Michael Brown Dodgy donation and stop printing misleading two horse bar graphs and claiming you are 'winning here', when in reality you are lying. The Lib Dems are a cancer in UK politics - time for them to be ground into the dust!

Cicero said...

Iain: People in glass houses shouldn't... The number of Conservatives involved is much higher as you well know, so attempting to put the boot in can only rebound. At least the Lib Dems checked to see if the rules had been broken- no one else did.

Iain Dale said...

The LibDems on here just dont get it. I have never said the Tories or Labour did nothing wrong. I'm happy to condemn all who have done wrong. The point of this post, as is clearly self evident, is to point out the smugness of LibDems who try to pretend that they are somehow better than the others and havent been up to the same old tricks.

Judging by the LibDem reaction, a nerve has clearly been struck.

Chris said...

Another Lib Dem here.

I actually agree that the Michael Brown money SHOULD have been paid back, the same as I don't think Ashcroft or Whelan's donations are fair either. Does it not suggest we should look at state funding of parties, because cases like these will continue to plague politics otherwise?

And Adolf Brown, on the "misleading two horse bar graphs," my local Conservatives sent us an election leaflet that did the same thing, suggesting that we had no chance of winning the constituency despite having beaten the Tories to second place in 2005 and made vote gains in council by-elections since then. We are not a "cancer," we're just like the others. And that, correct me if not, is what Iain is saying.

Mark Senior said...

Iain Dale nypocrisy clock still counting .
Do his Dolphin House Conservative MP Pals think that they will get through the weekend without being named in the Sunday press ?
I see Mr Day is now posting his bile under a new pseudonym .

Jabba the Cat said...

@ Mark Senior said...

"Iain Dale nypocrisy clock still counting ... I see Mr Day is now posting his bile under a new pseudonym."

Lol...someone left the crèche door open again by mistake?

Twig said...

@Chris
How would funds be allotted under the taxpayer funded scheme?

Wouldn't it be better to just tighten up the existing rules, put a cap on donations and make the electoral commission more accountable to the public they are supposed to serve?

Anyone with an ounce of reason can see that the current Electoral Commission isn't working. The confiscation of critical funds from an up and coming party like UKIP was politically motivated and completely unjustified, as was the Equalities Commission attack on the BNP.

I really feel that the EU are driving these actions, and trying to preserve the monopolisation of Westminster by the EU supporting parties (i.e. Lib, Lab & Tory).

ChristalPalace said...

@Twig

The obvious answer would be to base it on number of votes received, but this would just entrench the status quo, ensuring that Labour and the Conservatives will ALWAYS have more money than the rest.

Another idea could be to set a figure that every candidate standing receives, regardless of their previous results, and prevent any other donations being made to them. This will of course mean that the deposit system will need reforming too.

The only other issue I can see with this idea is that there is no way to stop super-rich candidates spending their own money (the Referendum Party, for example).

Twig said...

@ChristalPalace

How much would be paid to each candidate, and how could you prevent them from just standing to get some tax free cash with no prospect of getting any votes? Surely the candidates should have to persuade their supporters of their case, rather than compelling us to support them regardless of their motives.

Wouldn't it be better to just make a series of changes to the existing system with caps on donations and caps on spending etc?

The regulations should be more strictly enforced by a demonstrably independent regulator to prevent the kind of slippery trickery that Labour seems to excel at.

Mark Senior said...

There is already substantial taxpayer funding of political parties and the biggest beneficiary is of course ......
the Conservative party

Last year over 12% of total Conservative party income came from the taxpayer via Short money , Cranborne money , Electoral commission developement grants etc .

Pensfold said...

People who rented flats in Dophin Square, many MPs, were made an offer of a one-off payment in exchange for increasing the long term rents.

Lib Dem MPs who took this money have reported themselves. MPs from other parties have not.

So the Lib Dems are not whiter than white but a whiter shade of grey.

The other MPs are dark grey.

ChristalPalace said...

@Twig

(This is Chris who posted the original comment, by the way.)

Standing for tax-free cash could possibly be countered by a system of some sort in which candidates must show evidence of where the money has been spent in their campaign - any that hasn't must be returned.

On what the figure should be - I've never stood as a candidate, so don't really have a clear idea what a correct figure would be.