I watched most of Eurovision last night. Eurovision is normally painful to watch but it somehow draws you in and I feel that I need to watch it just in case the UK entry manages to get more than one point. Every year I curse at the blatant political voting which seems to have got much worse over the last few years. Even Terry Wogan had had enough and had handed over the reigns to Graham Norton.
This year the voting rules had changed and the UK entry by Jade Ewan had been touted around Europe over the last few months, however, despite the song writing skills of Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber the UK entry only managed 5th place, which for a mediocre song was a vast improvement on previous years. It looks like the rest of Europe took pity on us !
This years Eurovision winner was the Norwegian entry which wasn’t a bad song and was quite catchy but one that once you had heard it a few times will prove to be very irritating.
This years contest, however, was good from the point of view that it was a more serious contest with some reasonably good songs and not so many ridiculous costumes, although there were still some acts who had acrobats when they should have had backing singers ! They should should remember that Eurovision is a song contest not a travelling circus !
Iceland managed to afford the airfare for their entry and actually I quite liked it. They finished second.
I must admit that I did miss some of Eurovision as I ended up flicking over to ITV to watch some of Britain’s Got Talent which provided much better entertainment. Still, I suppose I will be watching again next year.
The expressions on the faces of the MP’s who were brave enough to appear on BBC Question Time on Thursday night said it all ! They all looked highly embarrassed apart from Margaret Beckett who decided she would try and defend herself. She failed miserably, however, to convince the outraged audience.
What is becoming clear is that there are two types of MP’s in this saga. Firstly, there are those MP’s who submitted expense claims for items they had purchased for their so called second homes. Many of these MP’s had sought guidance on whether they could claim and many claims were passed by the people charged with administering the scheme. Secondly, there are those MP’s who seem to have been deceitful. For example, several MP’s have claimed for alleged mortgage payments made on houses that had actually no mortgage.
Whilst the first scenario is milking the system the second scenario is the most serious and is probably fraud. It’s the MP’s that have perpetuated fraud that I think should feel the force of the law against them.
There is no doubt that our political system has been badly damaged. It’s not going to be easy for MP’s to regain trust from us, but a start would be for all those found to have committed a fraud to either resign or be sacked as MP’s and secondly for the whole expenses system to be re-written and administered properly.
What we also need to know are the details of all the MP’s who have played within the spirit of the rules. It’s easy to think that our whole political system is corrupt but so far we have only been told about those MP’s that have made outrageous claims and it may well be that the vast majority have not played the system.
The Daily Telegraph’s exposure of MP’s expenses makes excellent reading. The impression is that nearly every MP is claiming as much as they possibly can. Even if the rules say that they can make the claims, the question is whether making claims is within the spirit of the rules. My opinion is that MP’s should be ashamed of themselves. In times of economic recession, when ordinary people are trying to make ends meet this sort of expense claims culture is nothing short of disgraceful.
If the newspaper article is accurate then it appears that MP’s are claiming for such things as household repairs, TV’s for several homes, clothing, chocolate, security that is not needed, stays in luxury hotels, the list is endless.If these people were working for a private company these people would have been sacked.
I don’t know who set the rules for MP’s expenses but I suspect MP’s themselves had a big influence. An MP is there to serve the people. They should be honoured to be in a position to make decisions that improve all our lives. It seems, however, that MP’s see this as not the main reason that they do the job. They appear to see the job as a good little earner where they can get away with things that they know they wouldn’t get away with if they worked somewhere else.
This whole episode will only damage the image of politics even more. The whole political system may end having to change because of this and many politicians exposed as milking the system should do the honourable thing and not contest the next election.