Wednesday, March 28, 2007

MPs Should Bin Extra "Communications" Allowance

Today our wondrous elected representatives will be debating whether to award themselves another £10,000 "communications expenses" so they can increase yet further the power of incumbency spend more taxpayers money on felling rainforests to communicate their glorified achievements to their electorate. This is an outrage. I very much hope all Conservative MPs will vote against this proposal - last time it was debated several voted in favour, some not even realising what they were voting for. Theresa May puts it well...

Theresa May, the Shadow Leader of the House of Commons, today called on MPs to reject a proposed £10,000 “communications allowance”.
“Of course MPs have a duty to communicate with their constituents. But we
also have a duty to spend our constituents’ taxes wisely. With modern means
of communication, we can communicate with our constituents without spending
great sums of taxpayers’ money. These days, MPs don’t just rely on post
and the press, but on websites, email, blogs, text messages, and social
networking services like Facebook. The real risk of these proposals is that the money will be used for political marketing, and therefore give an
unfair advantage to incumbent MPs. I’m sure the sceptical public don’t
want more of their taxes spent on MPs’ spin funds.”

I shall be examining the voting lists on this measure very carefully.


Anonymous said...

Publish the list of those who want the money and then you have a perfect attack ad. How many of those on the list will have made pompous speeches recently telling us all to save money etc etc.

I defy any MP to take the money only 2 weeks after robbing charities and the poor in the budget and justify it.

Laurence Boyce said...

Forgive me for being a bit stupid, but I thought that MP’s were supposed to listen to their constituents.

Anonymous said...

Oh dear why does the Conservative Party live in the past.

Back in the 1960's Conservative MPs opposed secretarial and research assistant allowences.

What is wrong with MPs keeping in touch with their constituents. There are very strict rules by the Dept of Finance and Administration on what an MP can actually say - and that includes they cannot criticised the government !

Plenty of Conservative Council's preoduce magazines and newspapers, reporting the work of the council - so what is wrong with MPs doing the same.

Maybe it has to do with the fact that some Conservative MPs are too lazy to produce anything.

Anyone would think that the Conservative Party had an army of volunteers to deliver newsletters !!

Anonymous said...

They do laurence, they do. They spend all their time listening, trying to incorporate the views of 72,000 individuals into a consistent outlook only to be told at election time that "we never hear anything from you".

Hence the communications allowance.

Oh, and Iain...don't worry, I'm sure L0rd Ashcr0ft can match whatever the Gov'ts proposing.


Jonathan Sheppard said...

What you your advice be to Conservative MPs who may vote against this proposal once it gets voted through? Should they not spend it even though their political opponents will?

Anonymous said...

This ridiculous proposal is another good reason for abolishing all MPs' allowances and replacing them with centrally resourced offices, equipment 9such as computers) and staff, thus at a stroke putting an end to the employment of family members and other scams(remember 'Betsygate'?) that so ridicule politicians in the eyes of the public. This would include resources for their communications and constituency work - thus making this 'communications allowance' (which will inevitably be seen as being 'trousered' by MPs) quite unnecessary.

MPs who value their probity - such as it is - could have no issue with being provided with office facilities and staff rather than have to pay for them out of 'allowances'.

Iain Dale said...

Anonymous, it is nothing to do with living in the past. MPs already get funding for an annual report. That should be quite sufficient.
Jonathan, I hope Conservative MPs will not use the money at all and take the hgih ground.

Anonymous said...

Self-publicity whore opposes self-publicity.

*brain explodes*

Raedwald said...

When will these vain, self-righteous puffed up little cockroaches realise that we're utterly fed up with their avarice? I have little doubt which way they'll vote, scurrying after yet another grease puddle.

And as for MPs listening to the views of their constituents, don't make me gag! Their entire oleaginous sycophancy is geared towards securing a post, however junior, in government; the only views they're interested in are their party bosses'.

These days, being an MP is little more than a smart career move for any numptie with a 2:1 in PPE and who is not overburdened with beliefs, convictions, morality or a sense of shame.

This move will do nothing but increase the anger of ordinary voters, alienate even more people from the democratic process and reduce voter turn-outs still further.

Laurence Boyce said...

“I shall be examining the voting lists on this measure very carefully.”

Ah, the sad life of a political hack!

Anonymous said...

My boss (a Tory MP) has been toying with the idea of joining facebook. I have been trying to dissuade him. Now Theresa May has made reference to it in the House he may be more keen than he was. Oh dear...

MidNorfolklefty said...

I agree with Iain. In Mid Norfolk our MP has a tendency to issue extremely biased constituency "Newspapers" at electorally sensitive times. I have no problem with the MP publishing genuinely informational material - especially since the EDP is dismal for political coverage - but party political material masquerading as unbiased comment should be paid for out of election spend not from an allowance intended to educate the electorate.

Anonymous said...

Typcial Tory hypocrisy. Pollute our political system with massive funds from millionaires who were until recently amabassadors for forewign states but deprive Labour MPs of the opportunity to say what they actually do.

Anonymous said...

'The real risk of these proposals is that the money will be used for political marketing'

Actually, the real risk is that it'll be just p***ed up the wall. MPs do less and less for more and more. Let's tell them where they get off. Publish the list of those who vote for the proposal, Iain, and shame them.

Anonymous said...

Iain and Theresa May you're both saints. How good to encounter decency in politicians and candidates.

We know what nulab are going to do in respect of this little windfall - grab every penny and run to the nearest trough.

So, how about the Conservatives and Lib Dems? Are they going to practice what they preach and refrain from digging even further into hard working people's pockets? Or will they also treat the public purse as a nice little earner and there for their own limitless benefit?

Well, Mr Cameron & Campbell, which will it be?

Auntie Flo'

Anonymous said...

Oh yes that's just what we need, more snout in trough expenses for these bastards. They should join in the real fucking world for a change where people don't get fucking travelling expenses paid for on top of their wages. Then they might think twice about taxing us spods off the roads.

I swear Mr Fawkes had the right idea. remember remember, you fuckers.

Raedwald said...

283 of the greedy onanists voted for it, only 188 against and the rest all in hiding and smug knowing they can claim their whack without being accused of hypocrisy.

They've very nobly agreed to 'cap' their pre-franked envelope allowance at £7k pa though - even though only the frauds and cheats amongst them spend anywhere close to this figure (you do the maths)

I hear the sound of tumbrils on the cobbles ...

Anonymous said...

"Take the high ground" Iain?

Would that be the High Ground sponsored by Bearw00d C0rporate Services?

Anonymous said...


I have lived all over London and I still find it hard to believe why I continue to pay my council tax when I see the local council (and Assembly) magazines pushed through my letterbox on a regular basis.

You must be aware of this. On this basis it is perfectly normal for MPs in turn to ask for communication allowances.

The real problem is that some MPs do naff all and so do not deserve even the money get currently and some put themselves about a great deal and although I may personally feel they talk a lot of rubbish at least I can be reasonably sure they do some work.

Anonymous said...

Good to see Anon at 2.51 believes that only Tories get money from big business.

Lord Sainsbury
Ronnie Cohen
Geoffrey Robinson
Gavin Davies
Lord Cashpoint,,,,,,, shall I go on?

Anonymous said...

You can do.

But only L0rd Ashcr0ft keeps the leadership awake at nights with his attempts to create a Tory version of the Militant tendency within the ranks of Dave's cuddly Conservatives.

Anonymous said...

Please publish the voting lists, Iain. How about interviewing the leaders afterwardsfor some tough questioning on why they voted the way they did?

Auntie Flo'

Anonymous said...

Iain Dale said -

Anonymous, it is nothing to do with living in the past. MPs already get funding for an annual report. That should be quite sufficient.

MPs get £20,000 a year so called incidential expenses provision.

From that they have to pay for any stationery other than the bespoke paper and evelopes, toner (and colour toner aint cheap), renting of constituency offices, hire of photocopiers etc and you still think there is sufficient room for the printing and delivery of two reports back to constituents.

Not all MPs have their noses in the trough. It is fine for rural Conservative MPs with little casework, spare a thought for those hard working Conservative MPs in urban marginal seats who are bombarded with constituents wanting help.

Ten years ago no one would have had a near full timer on immigration - they exist today.

MPs staff are not as well paid as Local Government Officers. Many now have to rely on volunteers and that cannot be right.

unothordox behaviour said...

They voted for it...not sure what this means for the opposition.

My local MP Linton has the huge advantage of being able to write to me on House of Commons paper in HoC envelopes - as he did the other day, to invite me to a Q+A coffee morning...

He knows I didn't vote for him, but probably thinks I'm the classic swing voter...he must have spotted the long wheel base Rolls Royce Phantom I had on the driveway the other week.

Read my lips, Linton: CON-GEST-ION CHA-RGE

Still, Linton looks very professional when the local Tories are still handing round mini-surveys. Time to door-step with suggestions, gents.

Anonymous said...

I'm assuming the flyer would need a source imprint. So why don't you set up an appeal for copies to get sent in from across the country, and create a Doughty Street Award for the worst example put out?

Incidentally, if anyone has any recent local examples of EU propaganda, pls drop me a line via
Public service announcement ends.

Anonymous said...

PS anonymous 5.08

The fact that you're an MP in a marginal should make no difference to your workload...

peteblogging said...

Iain, why are people spelling the a
name of your erstwhile funder with zero's rather than oh's?

peteblogging said...

Can't we say Ashcroft any more? Or Bearwood?

Iain Dale said...

Because NuLab trolls can't type properly.

Jonathan Sheppard said...

I take a different view Iain. If there is a safe Labour seat right next to a Tory held marginal Im afraid I would advise the Tory MP to use this new communications allowance. Yes it helps incumbents - but you cannot have a system now where only one party uses the allowance giving them an even bigger advantage over the opposition.

Chris Paul said...

Cllr John Leech MP recently sent out a supposed parliamentary report with local government candidates all over it - including the cover.

It referred to a geographical area that is not his constituency name of "South Manchester". And it was even distributed in areas which are not yet in his constituency but which are in a local government ward they are targeting.

The cover picture (with the candidate) also had pictures of Lib Dem campaigning material.

And to rub it in the exact same picture has been used on that candidate's very expensive election flier.

I estimate the thing will have cost £5,000 to produce and that from the taxpayer and my suggestion is that Leech foot the bill for the same amount of print for every other active party in the area AND pay the taxpayer back.

He also sticks paid adds with his contact details in local party political leaflets.

They should be stopped, these chancers. Whatever party they're from. But they are mostly Lib Dems don't you find?

Colin D said...

As My MP The wonderful Gwynfor Mathews Prosser don't write to me, or answer my drivilish questions, or do as he promised, Why should I & my family contribute so he can write to his sick love child or children et hoc. I will bring this matter to his attention forthwith & await a response. Thank you Iain.

Anonymous said...

Chris Paul - I'm beginning to think you're just bwisted and titter.

Are yuh Laaybuh, beeanychans?

Nich Starling said...

I'd be very careful about insinuating that John Leech uses parliamentary funds for his leaflets. In North Norfolk we do exactly what John Leech does, at no expense to the tax payer and using 100% Lib Dem Party funds.

Tehe Tory agent (Iain will know about this) claimed in the paper that Norman Lamb MP was wasting tax payers money, as you have cliamed about John Leech, and had to issue a hasty apology when she found that it was not the case.

Anonymous said...

Just how much is each Labour MP and Labour Councillor taxed by The Party on their publicly-funded dosh ?

Anonymous said...

and could they be obliged to each sign an affidavit that they have used the funds exactly as intended and not for any other purpose....and file that affidavit with the Inland Revenue ?