Tuesday, 31 March 2009

MPs shouldn't all be tarred with the same brush

There is plenty of comment being voiced right now both in the main stream media and online about the expenses being claimed by MPs. My view is that our MPs are representative of this country's society as a whole: in other words many are seriously on the make grabbing everything they can from an inadequate system whereas others really are concerned about their constituents and their 'calling' if you like and are not abusing their expenses claims. It would be totally wrong to tar everyone with the same brush and this is where huge swathes of people look at the worst examples and imagine that they are all at it.

A long time ago I stated my concerns about how ministers can both attend to their designated job in government and adequately represent their constituents. I don't know how it could be arranged but in a perfect world ministers wouldn't be doing both jobs, if it's a full time job for a backbench MP it must be much more than that for someone on the front bench. Having said that ministers do have the availability of an army of civil servants to advise and inform them, and it should be emphasised just how important it is for those MPs running the country to get out there and see what is happening in the real world.

Back to the main centre of attention of the media - Jacqui Smith. She may or may not have broken the rules concerning her second home but it's absolutely obvious that she has gone against the spirit of them. Regarding her husband's choice of viewing material I will make no comment other than she deserves some embarrassment, whether or not she was aware of the films he was watching I don't know but it was her responsibility to check the submission of expenses for payment not his at the end of the day. Husband Richard Timney has in the past written letters to their local paper in Redditch extolling the work done by his wife until someone rumbled that this leader of the 'Jacqui Smith Fan Club' was none other than her spouse. Maybe not illegal but just showing how far the pair would happily twist things to present the MP in the best possible light. She has a narrow majority in her Midlands seat and she is going the right way to lose it. Regardless of party label I certainly wouldn't vote for her.

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