Saturday, 19 December 2009

The Fraudsters' Parliament -5

By 25th March 2008 the battle over MPs expenses was to hot up. By that date it was heading for the High Court after the House of Commons launched a late attempt to prevent the publication of details of the claims made by MPs.
They appealed against disclosure claiming that the publication of their second homes addresses would mean that they were less likely to 'speak their minds' which would 'inhibit democratic debate'. They also claimed that disclosure of addresses would present a security risk and may produce a potential bill for the taxpayer!

We now know, of course, that several MPs were looking at a prison sentence if the details of their claims came into the public domain.

For a clear overview of the developments in this story, try Wikipaedia's information on the MPs' expenses scandal at;

In the SEARCH box type in MPs' Expenses scandal. This will get you to the section giving the overview of the UK parliameentray expenses scandal to date!

The Information Tribunal had ordered the Commons to release MPs' individual claims and said that there was no reason why their second home details should not be revealed too. The then Speaker of the House was apparently responsible for the launching the appeal against disclosure. It was to cost him his job!...... at least in the House of Commons!

Friday, 18 December 2009

The Fraudsters' Parliament - 4

I was determined not to let the matter rest. On the 11th March 2008 I sent off a request for further information to the Committee on Standards and Privileges at the House of Commons. I still wasn't particular good at this! I would compose these letters when I had finished other work at home and often late in the evening.
I had also decided to have some sort of recorded delivery of these letters--- not only had MPs misappropriated taxpayers' monies, it was now costing me money to bring it to someone's attention. Note also that only a vague reference is made yet to the Freedom of Information Act!
The text of my letter was;

Committee on Standards and Privileges
House of Commons

11th March 2008

Subject: Alleged embezzlement of public funds by an MP

Dear Sir/Madam,
As a tax paying UK citizen, I note that no official request for a police investigation has been made by parliamentary authorities into the recent alleged embezzlement of public funds by an MP.

I note that a recent request for clarification from the Metropolitan Police Commissioner has not resulted in a request, by parliamentary authorities, for a police investigation by any police authority.

As a tax paying citizen, I have today made a formal request that such a police investigation into this matter be initiated.

I am requesting any information, minutes of any meetings etc. relating to the decision not to request a police investigation into this matter under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act(s).

Yours faithfully,

John L. Bell

It was at this time that I opened a folder on my computer entitled 'Parliamentary Embezzlement'.

I did not realise then how full this folder was to become!

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

The Fraudsters' Parliament - 3

I have to admit that the more I delved into the fraudulent attitude that MPs appeared to have towards their allowances and expenses, the more annoyed I became.
The Metropolitan Police Commissioner had, apparently asked the parliamentary organisation supposedly policing MPs' behaviour (later to be dubbed the 'Parliamentary Watchpoodle'!) why the matter had not been referred to the police... to no avail.
I fired off a letter to the Metropolitan Police! Note that this letter was not exactly alive with legal knowledge or jargon....... It was, however, a bona fide letter of complaint from a taxpaying citizen! ....... I think it would be fair to say that our boys in blue (Met Division) did not exactly leap into action!!

Metropolitan Police Commissioner
Metropolitan Police Service
New Scotland Yard

11th March 2008

Subject: Alleged embezzlement of public funds by an MP

Dear Sir,
As a tax paying UK citizen, I am writing to confirm my question, made earlier by email, asking if a police investigation into the recent allegations of alleged embezzlement of public funds by an MP has been initiated.

If such an investigation has not yet been initiated, as a tax paying citizen, I am requesting that such an investigation be initiated.

Please consider this to be a formal complaint against any party who may have acted illegally.

I appreciate that you have asked why the parliamentary authorities have not requested action by the Metropolitan Police, with little positive response from those authorities.

Yours faithfully,

John L. Bell

Sunday, 13 December 2009

MPs' fraudulent expenses claims part 2

One member of the House of Commons rose to the occassion, although I later learned that a few, a very few, others had been campaigning against the sharp practices undertaken by some of their colleagues in parliament!
Mr Frank Field is one of that select band of MPs whose opinions I value when there is talk now of 'reforming' this Fraudsters' Parliament.
Immediately after the Conway scandal I merely asked questions assuming that there was one rotten apple in the barrel. I was stunned when Mr Field stood up in parliament and asked why there had been no effective action about the scandal and there was no effective reply from the 600+ members! I logged onto the internet that evening and found a recording from parliament of his statement. He compared the Commons' response to the Conway disclosures to their response if similar practices had been discovered in the equivalent of the parliamentary canteen!
As the extent of the fraudulent practices by a large number of MPs started coming into the public domain.... the penny dropped! There were very few who could be trusted to put the voters' interests before their own financial gain.

MPs, with the exception of Mr Field and a very small band of others, could no longer be trusted - at all!
We now (December 2009) need an election to get rid of all the fraudsters, from whatever party and whatever level of seniority, in this travesty of a democratic institution.
Far too many appear to have graduated from the MUGABE SCHOOL OF DEMOCRACY (Financial division) with 'honours'.
As a taxpaying citizen, I no longer want MPs to be beholding financially to any outside body! I do not want them even to have 'ownership of the rules' governing their behaviour and their ability to 'spirit away' their misdoings.
I want this in much the same way as I do not want the local burglar fraternity to have ownership of my house keys, my car keys, or the keys of any 'main' home I may have been designating, for the purposes of further defrauding the taxpaying public!

The new members of the next parliament must show that they are totally free of conflicting interest or outside financial influence - unless membership of parliament is to be deemed a 'part-time' activity. At sometime in the future ... ten to fifteen years down the line from here- can we review this question when it has become the norm for MPs' claims to be fully and independently audited with the full results in the public domain.

And when the next 'clean' parliament has hopefully been installed sometime next year, perhaps we can begin to address the abuse of influence in the Lords which has come to light recently!

Further searching of the internet disclosed the name of one individual who had for years been attempting to throw some light onto the 'goings on' in official circles in the UK- Heather Brooke, a journalist wwho was amazed at the lack of transparency she found in large areas of British governance. I checked out the website (the website of the Your Right to Know organisation). I would suggest that any taxpaying citizen voter should make frequent visits to this website. I bought a copy of her book 'Your Right to Know: A Citizens Guide to Freedom of Information' and my concern score in relation to MPs and theeir expenses, increased from 1 ('mildly concerned') to 5 ('getting annoyed')!

MPs' Expenses!

It all started with the disclosures surrounding the Conway case in the UK House of Commons. I was a taxpaying citizen UK voter who thought..." What a disgrace! This guy has to go to gaol! He must have broken the law!..... He's for it!" As I tut-tutted I waited for the full wrath of the members in the House of Commons to fall on him! There followed a few parliamentary mutterings..... and comparative silence!

Of course, at that time I did not realise (nor did any other UK citizen!) just how widespread were the fraudulent practices undertaken by members of the self styled 'Mother of Parliaments' and how effectively those privvy to the system had managed to conceal the full extent of their misdeeds. At that time I would have scored my concern as a 1 on a scale from 0 to 10-- a mild concern that this individual has trangressed but witth absolute certainty that the matter would be dealt with immediately by the authorities!...... How innocent (or stupid, if you like!) was I!